I haven’t done a book haul post since May of last year, and I’ve gotten quite a lot of book mail recently, so I thought I would share it with you all! I guess, in a way, this is my long-hand/written version of unboxing Instagram stories, seeing as I’m not really active on my Bookstagram anymore (I never really enjoyed the whole photo-taking thing, although I wish I did, considering that’s where a lot of publishers are focusing their efforts these days… sigh).
As always, the typical disclaimer: This isn’t in any way trying to brag or anything by showing (or telling you about) all the books I’ve received recently. If you know me outside of this blog (i.e. we’ve talked on Twitter), then you’ll know this is an obscene amount of book mail for me: I never get this much! Most of the time, I’m lucky if I can haul one or two books a month. This post is just me… trying to find blog content, to be honest with you, haha!
I’ll include Blackwell’s affiliate links as usual, in case you’d like to purchase any of the books I talk about in today’s post. I’ll also be stating whether the books were purchased, traded for or were a gift, as well as if there’s anything special about them. This list isn’t in any particular order either.
Please note that there are some sequels on this list which I haven’t read the first book for! For fear of spoiling myself, books which fall into this category will not have a Goodreads summary, but I will include purchase links if you’re interested in them.
Onto the books! ––
Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift [Signed & personalised copy, Purchase]
Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.
Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.
Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.
Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.
Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.
The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.
About my copy: If you’ve read my review of Cast in Firelight, then you’ll know how much I adore that book! Of course, I had to treat myself to a belated Christmas present and order myself a signed and personalised copy of it from “Books & Books” in the States. The finished copy is just gorgeous in person, and it has a place of pride on my shelves! I miiiiiight have already seen the cover for its sequel, Bound by Firelight, and let me tell you – it’s stunning! I can’t wait for everyone else to see it.
Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody [Purchase]
Purchase (US paperback)
Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…and secrets hide in every shadow.
Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.
Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.
Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…
And she’ll need to play.
About my copy: There’s nothing special about this copy of Ace of Shades, except for the fact that it’s the hardback edition. You might know that the hardback of Ace of Shades is out of print, and therefore a bit tricky to get unless you’re willing to splash a pretty penny on it. I haven’t even read the series yet, so that certainly wasn’t an option for me, but I managed to come across a hardback in okay condition for under £10 on eBay, so I went ahead and bought it! I’ve followed Amanda on Instagram for years, so I hope I like her book!
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir [Signed & stamped B&N Collector’s Edition, Purchase]
Purchase (UK paperback)
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
About my copy: My relationship status with the Ember in the Ashes series could currently be defined as ‘complicated’. I read and adored the first two books, but like the fool that I am, ended up spoiling pretty much the rest of the series partway through the third book, when I happened to hop on the wiki one morning (I know, I know)… Now, I’m living in blissful ignorance, pretending the ending of the series (or, more accurately, my favourite character’s ending) didn’t happen. Series ending besides, I was only on the second book (I think?) when I bought this, and it’s still nice to have in my collection – especially as I think we’re getting a matching hardback of A Torch Against the Night soon!
Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa [Owlcrate exclusive edition, Purchase]
Purchase (Standard hardback)
One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
About my copy: I had read Shadow of the Fox years ago when it first came out, and loved it, but never ended up picking up the rest of the series! I prefer the Owlcrate cover to the standard cover, as I personally think the red goes better with the blue and purple of the sequels, compared to the standard black. So, when I saw a copy in good condition for sale on eBay, I knew I had to have it!
Forged in Fire and Stars by Andrea Robertson [Gift]
Out of stock on Blackwell’s website
Games of Thrones meets An Ember in the Ashes in this action-packed fantasy from the internationally bestselling author of the Nightshade series.
Ara has always known about the legend of the Loresmith: the blacksmith who served alongside the kings and queens of every generation to protect the kingdom. It was her fate to inherit the title–though she never truly believed it would come to pass since the monarchy’s downfall years before.
But when the lost Princess Nimhea and Prince Eamon steal Ara from her quiet life with a mission to retake the throne–and take her place as the Loresmith–her whole world turns upside down. Their journey will take Ara on a dangerous adventure to discover new truths about her family’s legacy, and even to face the gods themselves. And with a mysterious thief as an unexpected companion, Ara must use all her skills to figure out just who she can trust, and forge the right path forward–for herself, her kingdom, and her heart.
From internationally bestselling author Andrea Cremer comes a gorgeously written new fantasy series perfect for readers of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse or Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes series.
About my copy: This was a surprise present from my amazing friend Lydia @ Silver Wolf Reads! Lydia had spotted it on my Amazon WL and kindly sent it over as part of her ongoing book destash, to make room for her ever-growing JLA collection. Thank you, Lydia!
Beyond the Black Door by A. M. Strickland [Gift]
Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn’t listen …
Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.
But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.
When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.
A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom …
About my copy: As well as Forged in Fire and Stars, Lydia also sent me Beyond the Black Door! I’ve heard such good things about this one. I can’t wait to read it!
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller [Signed ARC, Trade]
There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.
Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.
More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.
About my copy: Daughter of the Pirate King is one of my favourite books, and so I had to have an ARC of it! I had arranged a trade for a signed ARC of DOTPK back in November/December, but because of COVID and Christmas-related shipping delays, my friend in the States (shout out to Alex!) was only able to forward my parcel onto me after Christmas, meaning this little unicorn turned up at my door in January! I’m so happy to have this in my collection – and, while it hasn’t arrived yet (and so isn’t included in this post), I also have an ARC of Daughter of the Siren Queen on the way, so my Levenseller ARC collection is slowly growing. Only The Shadows Between Us and Warrior of the Wild to go! (If you have these and are trading them, please reach out to me via Twitter DMs!)
The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross [Signed ARC, Trade]
Purchase (UK paperback)
When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.
Growing up in the southern kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her. While some are born with a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she chose knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true: she is left without a patron.
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, she reluctantly accepts. But there is much more to his story, for there is a dangerous plot to overthrow the king of Maevana—the rival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved, some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. Who will be that queen?
With gorgeous description and detailed rendering of a world where not everything is what it seems, debut author Rebecca Ross weaves an intricate tale of revenge, loyalty, and, ultimately, self-discovery.
About my copy: In my parcel of goodies from the States was also a signed ARC of The Queen’s Rising – another one of my unicorns! I can’t believe I managed to essentially get two of them by trading for Amazon WL books! As the saying goes, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’! Now to find an ARC of Sisters of Sword and Song (again, if you’re trading one, please reach out to me!). On a side note, I’m so sad there won’t be physical ARCs of Dreams Lie Beneath 😦 But I’ll definitely be requesting an eARC when they’re available!
Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie [Fairyloot exclusive edition, Purchase]
Purchase (Standard edition, Book Depository affiliate link)
Bone Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.
Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.
Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.
Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die
About my copy: If you’ve read my Most Anticipated Releases of 2021 post, then you’ll know that my Mum got me the Fairyloot edition of Bone Crier’s Dawn for Christmas (thanks Mum!). You’ll also know that, at the time, I had yet to track down a matching copy of Bone Crier’s Moon for my collection. Thankfully now, I have!
The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon [Signed, Purchase]
Purchase (Standard edition)
Dreamwalker Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.
The mysterious Domino Program has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim-her former enemy-at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war.
As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them-and could end with them…
About my copy: At the time of ordering this book, my Bone Season collection was complete. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this post, it’s now been broken up thanks to its loss of The Song Rising (more on that later), so I’m desperately hoping for a reprint of the purple edition of that book! Anyhow, I now have a signed copy of The Mask Falling in my collection, from Forbidden Planet.
Imprison the Sky by A. C. Gaughen [Purchase]
About my copy: This is the sequel to one of the books Lydia @ Silver Wolf Reads got me for Christmas! I haven’t read the first one. Reign the Earth, yet, but at least now when I get around to reading it, I’ll be able to binge the series! Thank you, Lydia, for buying me the first book!
Furyborn by Claire Legrand [ARC with signed bookplate, Trade]
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.
About my copy: For ages, I’ve been seeing people online talk about Furyborn! Granted, some of the reviews are mixed, but there are certain influencers on Instagram who I follow who absolutely rave about this series. So, when I happened upon an ARC of it for trade on the #arcsfortrade tag on Twitter (in exchange for books on an Amazon WL, at that!), I jumped at the chance. On one hand, I hope I like the book so it’s another series I can get invested in and add to my collection, but at the same time, I hope I don’t because it means I’ll have to track down ARCs of Kingsbane and Lightbringer, which from my lurking on the tags, are notoriously hard to get!
Heart of Flames by Nicki Pau Preto [Owlcrate edition, Gift]
Purchase (Standard edition)
About my copy: My Owlcrate copy of Heart of Flames was a belated Christmas present from my Mum – thanks Mum! Unfortunately it didn’t arrive in time for Christmas, and it showed up in January instead!
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer [Purchase]
Fall in love, break the curse.
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.
About my copy: As you’ll see from the last two books in this book haul, I obviously needed to read the first book before I could start the second and third! There isn’t much else to say about this one!
A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer [Signed ARC, Trade]
About my copy: This certainly wasn’t a book (or an edition) I was ever expecting to haul! But, I happened upon a trade post on one of the bookish trade groups on Facebook, where the person was looking for the purple collectors edition of The Song Rising, and had (among others) ARCs of A Heart So Fierce and Broken and A Vow So Bold and Deadly to trade. I haven’t read the first book in the series, so I was taking a complete chance in trading away my potential money-maker in TSR, but I’ve heard so many good things about the Cursebreakers series, I decided to go for it! I didn’t have any particular attachment to TSR, and I figure if I really don’t like the series, I can always trade my ARCs for something else I know I’d like.
A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer [ARC, Trade]
About my copy: I wasn’t expecting the trader to agree to trading multiple ARCs for The Song Rising, but they agreed, and so here we are! I feel a little smug having an ARC that I know a lot of people are after, especially when I haven’t even read the series, haha! I really hope I’ll love this series… I’m desperate to believe in the hype! My reading year this year hasn’t been a great one, so I’m really in the mood for something a) I can sink my teeth into and b) I can rate highly! It’s about time I added a new favourite series to my collection!
And that’s my book haul for January and February of 2021! Are there any books on this list that you’ve read? Or that are on your TBR? Let me know in the comments or over on Twitter @_princessofink!