First Lines Friday | 04.03.22 | Deciding My Next Read

This week, we’re trying something different – well, different for me at least! First Lines Friday! Previously hosted by Wandering Words, this weekly feature asks us to judge books by their opening lines rather than their covers. Normally the feature asks you to choose a book, copy out the opener, and then get people to guess which novel it belongs to before finally revealing the answer. However, I’m going to change things up and do three! As I’m currently in between books, I thought it might be fun to choose my next read based on its opening lines. So, let’s get into the 3 options I’ve selected:

OPTION ONE

The two would-be jade thieves sweated in the kitchen of the Twice Lucky restaurant. The windows were open in the dining room, and the onset of evening brought a breeze off the waterfront to cool the diners, but in the kitchen, there were only the two ceiling fans that had been spinning all day to little effect. Summer had barely begun and already the city of Janloon was like a spent lover—sticky and fragrant.

I hear ‘would-be thieves’ and already my brain is excitedly screaming: HEIST! I also like that this opening already gives me a sense of the world I’m soon to read about.

Any idea what the book is? No? Well, here are three clues:

  1. It’s an adult fantasy.
  2. It’s the first in a trilogy.
  3. The author has described it as ‘The Godfather with magic and kung-fu’.

OPTION TWO

When Red wins, she stands alone.

Blood slicks her hair. She breathes out steam in the last night of this dying world.

Well, damn. Isn’t this dramatic as hell? I love it.

Ringing any bells for you? If not, these hints might help you out:

  1. It’s a sci-fi novella
  2. The story involves time travel and a f/f romance
  3. It has two authors.

OPTION THREE

And last but not least…

Anthony Bridgerton had always known he would die young.

Oh, not as a child. Young Anthony had never had cause to ponder his own mortality. His early years had been a young boy’s perfection, right from the very day of his birth.

Anthony, stop being so darn melodramatic. Jeez. I like the fact that this opener seems to support my assessment by pointing out just how perfect his life has been for the most part.

Okay, be honest, do you even need a hint to guess this one? Still, for consistency’s sake…

  1. It’s a sequel.
  2. It’s a historical romance.
  3. The series name is in the quote above minus an ‘s’.

The (Not So) Big Reveal

*Drumroll*

1. JADE CITY – FONDA LEE

The Kaul family is one of two crime syndicates that control the island of Kekon. It’s the only place in the world that produces rare magical jade, which grants those with the right training and heritage superhuman abilities.

The Green Bone clans of honorable jade-wearing warriors once protected the island from foreign invasion–but nowadays, in a bustling post-war metropolis full of fast cars and foreign money, Green Bone families like the Kauls are primarily involved in commerce, construction, and the everyday upkeep of the districts under their protection.

When the simmering tension between the Kauls and their greatest rivals erupts into open violence in the streets, the outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones and the future of Kekon itself.

2. THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR – AMAL EL-MOHTAR & MAX GLADSTONE

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.

3. THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME (BRIDGERTONS 2#) – JULIA QUINN

This time the gossip columnists have it wrong. London’s most elusive bachelor Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry—he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate’s the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams…

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate’s determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself…


Did you guess any of the three correctly? Which book do you think I should read next?

2022 TBR: 20 Books I Want to Read in 2022

Happy new year, bookworms! I hope you’ve all been celebrating and that you’re ready to take on 2022. As I’ve done for the past two years, here I am again with a list of some of the books I’m hoping to read over the course of the next 12 months. These books are usually a mix of backlist reads and newer releases from the last 1-2 years that I, unfortunately, didn’t get around to when they first came out. New 2022 releases are a story for another day (aka. another post).

Confession time: I don’t have the best success rate when it comes to these posts. Over the past two years, I’ve managed to read about half the books I’ve planned to. Not bad, but er…could be better. However, I have higher hopes for this year’s list! Why? Because (a) I’m more determined and (b) I reduced the list down to 20 books. Want to achieve more? SET SMALLER GOALS! I’ve even re-added the handy little checkboxes I used in 2020 to help tick them off as I go. Now, let’s jump in.

  • The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive 1#) – Brandon Sanderson  
    • Yes, it’s finally happening. I’m going to put on my big girl pants, ignore the enormous page count and see what the hype is about. Don’t let me down Sanderson!
  • Jade City – Fonda Lee ☐
    • I mentioned Jade City a couple of times in my December posts so I doubt you’re surprised to see it show up here. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting invested in another Asian fantasy series.
  • The Atlas Six – Olivie Blake ☑
    • I’ve wanted to read this for a while and with the new hardcover version being released in March, seems like the universe is trying to tell me something. Besides, I need a new dark academia book to obsess over.
  • The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor 1#) – Katherine Addison ☐
    • I only came across this book a little while ago but it sounds like a great fantasy read with a cinnamon roll lead, and I feel like 2022 will be my year of fantasy/sci-fi books.
  • A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes 4#) – Sabaa Tahir ☐
    • It’s happening this year. I WILL finish this series. I’m manifesting it happening.
  • Cytonic (Skyward 3#) – Brandon Sanderson ☐
    • Continuing on with one of my absolute favourite YA series. I’m praying it’s as good as the last two, otherwise I may cry.
  • Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb 2#) – Tamsyn Muir ☐
    • I’ve had this sitting on my desk for a year now because I need to read a detailed summary of Gideon before I tackle it. Bring on the mind boggling world building and badass necromancers.
  • This is How You Lose the Time War – Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone ☐
    • It’s a novella. I have absolutely no excuse. Also, time travelling, rival spy lesbians.
  • The Likeness – Tana French
    • I’ve been wanting to try a Tana French book for a while. The Dublin Murder Squad series can be read out of order and since this one is a dark academia read, I’m keen to read it first.
  • The Hollows – Mark Edwards
    • It’s a thriller so, with me, that means it could go either way. It was cheap on the amazon store and involves a creepy campground in the forest. Fingers crossed.
  • The Burning Girls – C. J. Tudor
    • Every time I’m in the mood for a thriller/mystery read I come close to downloading this but change my mind. It sounds great so this year I’m determined to finally read it
  • My Best Friend’s Exorcism – Grady Hendrix
    • I feel like everyone’s been telling me how good this book is for years. I bought it as part of my 2021 post-lockdown haul so I’m doing it this year. There are like 3 Grady Hendrix books on my TBR so I’m looking foward to crossing one off.
  • Blonde – Joyce Carol Oates
    • Another chunky read that I’ve been putting off. But since the adaptation starring Ana de Armas is coming out in 2022, I better get on it!
  • Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid
    • I put this off for the second half of last year because the right mood just didn’t arise, but I like TJR’s historical fiction and I’m interested in reading this one, so 2022 it is.
  • Migrations – Charlotte McConaghy
    • I really enjoyed McConaghy’s 2021 release, Once There Were Wolves, so I’m going back to her first adult besteller. It’s another environmental themed plot with personal drama thrown in. Hopefully it’ll be a good, short read.
  • The Lighthouse Witches – C. J. Cooke
    • This is a new addition to my TBR. It sounds very atmospheric & interesting, and I love a good Scottish setting. I’ve heard there are similarities to Netflix’s series ‘Dark’ but as I’ve never seen that it should still be surprising for me.
  • The View was Exhausting – Mikaella Clements, Onjuli Datta ☑
    • It’s contemporary but somehow this book is giving me Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo vibes. I’m not sure how it’ll go but this is the first book in a while I’ve spontaneously bought without doing a full online investigation first.
  • Seven Days in June – Tia Williams
    • I’ve been making my way through the GR choice award romance finalists for 2021 and this is the second last one on my list. I’m not usually a big second-chance-romance fan but I’ve heard great things, plus it’s about two authors which sounds cool.
  • The Charm Offensive – Alison Cochrun
    • I needed at least one contemporary romance and seeing as I picked this up in the sales, here it is! I’m looking forward to some Bachelor-esque romance fun with a twist.
  • Norweigan Wood – Haruki Marukami
    • Yes, it’s here again. Look, I almost started in December but eventually decided against it so we’re DEFINITELY doing it in 2022. Promise.

There you have it! 20 Books from a mix of different genres. Okay, yes, there’s a chunk of fantasy/sci-fi on there but I’m vibing with it at the moment. Completing this list should hopefully reduce my physical TBR pile by a good amount which is a major plus. Wish me luck, guys.

What books are on your 2022 TBR?

Top 10 Tuesday: Books on my 2021 Autumn TBR

Once again, it’s time for another installment of Top 10 Tuesday (hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl). This week’s topic is ‘Books on my 2021 Spring TBR’. But, as you know, I’m Australian so Autumn TBR it is! Here are some reads I’m really looking forward to starting this season.

Our Year of Maybe – Rachel Lynn Solomon

56976145. sy475

Over the last few months, I find that I’ve been gravitating towards more adult reads than I ever used to. However, lately there have been a few YA reads that have caught my eye, one of which is Our Year of Maybe. It’s about two best friends, Peter and Sophie. Peter is a pianist and in need of a kidney transplant, while Sophie, a dancer who has had a crush on him for years, turns out to be a match. Hoping the transplant will elevate their relationship to the next level, Sophie decides to donate. Things don’t exactly turn out as planned when post-operation, Peter finds himself drawn to Chase, a guitarist in his new band. I’ve heard that Solmon’s books read on the older side for YA and that she talks about a lot of topics which aren’t frequently represented in young adult books. I have high hopes for this one so fingers crossed.

She Who Became the Sun – Shelley Parker-Chan

48727813. sy475

After finishing the last book in The Poppy War series by R F Kuang earlier this year, I am so ready for some more Asian inspired fantasy x historical fiction, and from an Australian author, too! What I’ve heard of this book so far has been fantastic (pleeasssee don’t be a disappointment). It’s pitched as Mulan meets The Song of Achilles and I’m just like…two of my favourite things? Yes, please! The story is about a brother and sister whose futures are predicted – the boy, greatness, but the girl, nothingness. After their family is attacked by bandits and her brother dies, Zhu takes on his identity to enter a monastery as a male novice and achieve his fated destiny. I was super lucky to receive an ARC of this book and I’ll definitely be getting stuck into it very soon.

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

27823798. sy475

It’s time to tick off another classic! I’ve been wanting to read Rebecca for years but always seem to talk myself out of it. I think I’m just worried it won’t be my kind of book because it’s more about the atmosphere and writing than it is about plot but I should really stop underestimating my ability to enjoy different kinds of novels. I was originally hoping to read it before I saw an adaptation but well, that failed…so here we are. As I’m sure everyone is aware, the book follows a young woman who meets and marries a wealthy widower named Maxim de Winter and moves into his large estate called Manderley. There she has to deal with the shadow Maxim’s former wife Rebecca casts over their lives. It’s all very gothic and creepy.

Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

17308035

The only Murakami book I have ever read (or attempted to read) is 1Q84 and it was…weird. Very weird. So, I’m hoping for a different result with my second attempt at his work. Norwegian Wood, on the other hand, is supposedly one of Murakami’s more straightforward books (no sci fi or magical realism) and funnily enough, it’s also probably his most popular. Even the author himself is confused as to why. It deals with a 37-year old man looking back on his life 20 years ago and his first love. It’s supposed to be a pretty dark read at times and heavily deals with things like suicide and mental illness. I get the feeling this one is going to hurt but then again, that’s not always a bad thing.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown – Talia Hibbert

49976087

I definitely feel like I’ll be in the mood for some contemporary romance very soon because I’ve yet to read any in 2021. The bright yellow cover for Take a Hint, Dani Brown is definitely calling my name. As is the fact that it’s another faking dating story. I read the prequel, Get a Life, Chloe Brown, in 2020 and had fun so I thought, why not give the second installment a try? This book is about Dani who’s not really looking for a committed relationship right now. However, after she gets photographed being rescued by security guard Zaf during a fire drill, the internet starts shipping them together. Zaf asks Dani to play along to help with publicity for his children’s charity and Dani agrees. As you’d expect, cue sparks. This sounds like a sweet and sexy read so I hope it’s enjoyable!

Layla – Colleen Hoover

52089753. sy475

Here I am again, reading another Colleen Hoover book, although one that’s a bit different from her usual novels. This one is about a couple named Leeds and Layla who try to get their relationship back on track after an almost fatal attack by staying at the bed-and-breakfast where they met. But then weird things start happening that can’t be explained and Leeds turns to another guest for comfort. I’m not really sure what to expect with this one other than that it’s a paranormal romance of sorts. Confession though, I’m already about a quarter of the way through and still really on the fence about what to think. Here’s hoping it ends up being a Verity sort of scenario, which I really liked.

This is How you Lose the Time War – Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

43352954. sx318

I’ve never been much of a novella or short story reader. Usually I like books to have more room to breathe in terms of their narratives and characters. However, after enjoying Becky Chambers To be Taught, If Fortunate, I thought I’d give this one a go as I’ve heard so much about it. The novella deals with two time-travelling spies from different worlds, Red and Blue, on opposites sides of a conflict who fall in love via letters. I’ve seen two general reactions to this, 1) it was really confusing and weird and I was not a fan, and 2) This book was so amazing and I will need multiple re-reads to fully appreciate its beauty. My thoughts right now: intimidated. I really hope I like this and it certainly sounds really unique, but at least if it’s not my cup of tea it’s only around 200 pages long.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars – Christopher Paolini

48829708

I’m starting to realise that the books I’m tending to let sit on my TBR for extended periods are the doorstoppers. I’m afraid if I don’t start reading some of them, they’re going to launch a protest, rise up and bury me somehow. So, we’re going to try and tackle To Sleep in a Sea of Stars because it’s the scariest looking one and would probably be the ring leader in such an assault. This is a Sci-fi first contact story which follows a xenobiologist named Kira who comes across an alien artifact on a moon. This has big consequences for her and her crew, and triggers the start of an intergalactic war against humanity. It sounds really intriguing but I’m definitely worried about the amount of world building and whether the book will drag. Guess I’ll have to find out.

The Soulmate Equation – Christina Lauren

55692620

So, this book doesn’t actually come out until May but hey, it’s still Autumn. I’m also including it because I know it’s unlikely I’ll resist reading it for very long after it comes out. As you guys probably already know if you’re regular visitors to my blog, I love a good CLo Romance and this one sounds really good! It’s about a single mum named Jess who signs up for a DNA based match-making service which claims to be able to find your soulmate. She ends up matched with the company’s founder, Dr River Pena, with an unheard of 98% compatibility. The company offers to pay her to give the match a chance as a form of promotion for its stock. It’s an opposites attract type story and I can already partially predict how the plot will play out but I’m still really keen.

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

20893528

Little Women is another one of those aforementioned large books threatening to hurt me if I don’t read it soon. I’ve found myself glancing at this one on my shelves a lot lately (probably because of the pretty nature patterned, olive green spine) so I’m sure I’ll probably crack soon and just sit down to read it. The text is quite large in this edition so I’ll take comfort in the fact that it looks a lot bigger than it probably is. As almost everyone knows by now, this is a coming of age story about four sisters, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy, in 1860s Massachusetts. This novel is on my classics TBR so I’m looking forward to being able to finally check it off.


I’m feeling good about the next couple of months and hopefully I discover some more books to add to my annual favourites list. If everything could just be a five star read from here on out, that would be great. Thank you.

What books are you most looking forward to reading over the next few months of Spring/Autumn?