#5Books: 2018 book recs. TWENTY EIGHTEEN

#5Books for the week ending 7 january

How is everyone? Did you have a good holiday season? What did you read? Or not read as the case may be! No matter how much I plan to read over the holidays, I never actually get to do the planned reading, or I do some unexpected reading like finishing Children of Blood and Bone on 1 January. I was away on holiday and did nothing the entire day, except read and get up for snacks, and mind you that’s a perfect way to spend your holiday!

The book is brilliant, though not without a couple of things that made me pause and think it could have done without. It’s been a must-read for ages for me, so I’m thrilled that it’s SO GOOD. SO GOOD.

More of books like that this year, please! And mysteries. And thrillers. And GOOD unreliable narrators. And books with twists that really are worth putting on the back cover blurb and trumpeting for the whole world to see.

My Name Is Venus Black

Blurb: In this stirring, life-affirming debut novel, a young woman must reconcile her past with its far-reaching consequences on her quest for redemption.

I think about this a lot lately, trying to figure out how I got here. I trace my life back in time, looking for all those places in the past where, if I could change one key detail, I would never have seen what I saw or done what I did that terrible February night. 

Venus Black is a straitlaced, straight-A student obsessed with the phenomena of astronomy—until the night she commits a shocking crime that tears her family apart and ignites a media firestorm. Venus refuses to talk about what happened or why, except to blame her mother. Adding to the mystery, Venus’s developmentally challenged younger brother, Leo, suddenly goes missing.

Five years later, Venus emerges from prison with a suitcase of used clothes, a fake identity, and a determination to escape her painful past. Estranged from her mother, and with her brother still missing, she sets out to make a fresh start, skittish and alone. But as new people enter her orbit—including a romantic interest and a young girl who seems like a mirror image of her former lost self—old wounds resurface, and Venus realizes that she can’t find a future while she’s running from her past.

In this gripping story, debut novelist Heather Lloyd brilliantly captures ordinary lives upended by extraordinary circumstances. Told through a constellation of captivating voices, My Name Is Venus Black explores the fluidity of right and wrong, the meaning of love and family, and the nature of forgiveness.

Here’s the first thing that came to mind when I read this blurb: what did Venus do? She is an A-student and is accused of a crime that basically brings her life crashing down on her head. Her family is torn apart and the media descend on her, and through it all she says nothing but that she blames her mum. So what did she do? And how does her missing brother fit into it all?

The thing about this, is that the blurb is actually uplifting. Five years later, Venus is released from prison and sets about rebuilding her life and her relationships. And I like that — as much as the lighter YA makes me laugh and enjoy the stories for what they are, these books make me remember that YA treats its readers like the adults they sometimes have to be. I wish those articles that ask why adults read YA would remember that.

Zack: a Thriller 

Blurb: The gripping first thriller in a chilling new series from the reigning master of Scandinavian crime fiction—Mons Kallentoft, author of the acclaimed Malin Fors novels—is an instant international sensation.

Zack Herry is the golden boy who has stumbled into a career in the Stockholm police force. At night, he hangs out at the clubs, partying with the people he should really be arresting. He knows that it won’t last, but he can’t help himself, even as he starts being investigated by internal affairs. But when four Thai women from a massage parlor in Stockholm are found brutally executed and a fifth badly mutilated and dumped outside a nearby hospital, Zack must get his act together and try to figure out the motives behind the vicious murders, together with his partner, Deniz. Only one thing is for sure: more women will die unless they find the killer.

So what to make of a procedural which is named after the main character? Sure, there’s a crime mentioned, but I am thoroughly curious that Zack is the centre of attention of this book, so much so he’s the title.

Zack is a golden boy cop who doesn’t mind a bit of tarnish because he parties with people he should be arresting. Cue an internal investigation but Zack really has no fucks to give. However, when a case involving four Thai women who were murdered comes to Zack he is determined to solve the murder — but here’s the thing — the why of this is a big hold in the blurb. Why would he suddenly decide to get involved in something like this?

Gunslinger Girl

Blurb: James Patterson presents a bold new heroine–a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow’s West. 

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great….
In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.

Alright, it took a minute for it to click that the West is in the future here, and not the past, so whew, because I don’t like Westerns. However, there isn’t anything hi-tech in the cover is there? So I am curious about how these genres come together. Serendipty (heh) apparently inherited two things from her mother: her guns and her aim. Someone entices her to Cessation… and here’s where this blurb gets vague: where is she prisoner that she needs to pay the price of her freedom?

I am feeling this blurb got edited and something got left out because from being enticed to Cessation, she is suddenly escaping it and fighting its dark underbelly. But on the plus side for me at least, a dystopia I might actually like!

The King of Bone and Ashes

Blurb: From the bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series comes the first book in a fascinating trilogy following the quest of a young witch to uncover her family’s terrifying secret history…

Magic is seeping out of the world, leaving the witches who’ve relied on it for countless centuries increasingly hopeless. While some see an inevitable end of their era, others are courting madness—willing to sacrifice former allies, friends, and family to retain the power they covet. While the other witches watch their reality unravel, young Alice Marin is using magic’s waning days to delve into the mystery of numerous disappearances in the occult circles of New Orleans. Alice disappeared once, too—caged in an asylum by blood relatives. Recently freed, she fears her family may be more involved with the growing crisis than she ever dared imagine.

Yet the more she seeks the truth about her family’s troubled history, the more she realizes her already-fragile psyche may be at risk. Discovering the cause of the vanishings, though, could be the only way to escape her mother’s reach while determining the future of all witches.

Magic, witches and New Orleans, and a mystery? Yes please! This world feels chaotic and almost explosive given how the witches are reacting. And into this comes Alice, who already has a a explosive past herself. And how does her family work into the disappearances? And how does her mother fit into it all??? And why is a book about a woman named after a King? If that’s the bad guy, kind of giving it away maybe?

I think this is a good start to 2018! 


  • I’ve totally gotten into westerns lately, SFF westerns at least. I didn’t even know I liked them until I tried them! Lol. Gunslinger Girl does sound like it could be interesting.

  • I spent New Year’s Eve and Day mostly reading and I’ve been getting in about 4 hours at least per day. I’m pleased to have read two political cartoons books, two zombies and three urban fantasy over the last 8-9 days. I’m pleased with my start-now I need to keep it up!

  • So I should just go and add all of these to my TBR. This feature is so bad (yet so good) for me. I am ALMOST done with The Prey of Gods and started it right after the New Year. I guess on New Year’s Day I was reading Blood Sisters. Hope you’re having a wonderful 2018 so far!

    • Verushka says:

      I’m just getting into the groove of 2018 having got past the hurdle of week one, Barb — whew thankfully! Ohhh, two books with cool titles to look to look forward to their reviews!!

  • I have The King Bone and Ashes, I hope to get to it soon, I enjoy a good witch book! My Name is Venus Black sounds like a good one too!

    • Verushka says:

      Ahhhh, Jenea, I am so jealous right now — the King of Bone and Ashes sounds intense — and I need to know why the title is that given it’s all about Alice!

  • Lily says:

    I think I love the sound of The King of Bone and Ashes because it seems to be something I would love with the setting and everything..
    I keep seeing Children of Blood and Bone everywhere recently, so o.o now I am curious

    • Verushka says:

      Children of Blood and Bone is utterly, wonderfully brilliant, intense and I would LOVE nothing more to post about it, but I have to wait until March, boo! The King of Bone and ashes is a good distraction though lol

  • Gunslinger Girl is one I am really looking forward to reading. I keep hearing great things about it.

  • I definitely want to read Gunslinger Girl, it sounds so good. And I’ve read several of J.D. Horn’s books, he’s really good, and I have my eye on his latest to read at some point. I can’t wait to read your review of Children of Blood and Bone!

    • Verushka says:

      Oooh, what book of his would you rec Tammy? I think I’d like to get into his work before King of Bone and Ashes is released.

  • Greg says:

    Yes I need more of those things. 2017 was like the year of the thriller for me, lol, but I want more! Yes more unreliable narrators that don’t suck, and good twists are always appreciated. My Name is Venus Black and Zack both look good to me.

    Glad you had a nice, relaxing new Year’s. I did too and it was great!

  • OMG Gunslinger Girl takes place in the future?! That’s so good to hear, since I usually shy away from Western stories (despite enjoying the setting) because I find the racism and violence against women to be disturbing. Looks like I have to reconsider picking that one up!

    • Verushka says:

      THAT was exactly the reason I want to read this. It’s the only way to get me into a western — that and Christian Bale 😉

  • AngelErin says:

    This all sound great! I’ve only heard of Gunslinger Girl, but I added the others on Goodreads. 😀 Thanks for the fabulous recs!!

  • I hope you love Gunslinger girl!

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