To intro a bit, these are the new version of “Books I’m Never Reviewing”. I kept feeling like the connotation was that I wasn’t fond of said books, when often, quite the opposite was true. Also, the name was clunky. The bottom line is this: These are considered legitimate reviews by absolutely no one. Why? I don’t feel like it, nor do I have to. But apparently, my ego dictates that I still think you care whether I liked them and/or I feel like shouting about them. And so, I shall.

Well, since it’s almost 2018, and I have read a few books for funsies that come out in 2018…. why not chat a bit about them? And let’s put the emphasis on a bit, okay? They all also happen to be the start of new series, so that’s fun! 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on January 2nd 2018
Pages: 384
Format:ARC
Source:ALA
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Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie.

Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

If you want to read a comprehensive review from someone who really liked this one, Amber @ Du Livre points out a lot of the good points about this one. If you just want to know what I thought, well here we are. I was bored, okay? I assume it is at least in small part to my perma-slump, but I just had a really hard time getting into this one. It wasn’t anything in particular; it was just a complete disconnect. I have liked the author’s other books too, so I don’t think that had anything to do with it. And that is why this is a super short “review”: because it isn’t one. It’s just… I felt pretty apathetic about the whole thing.


Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen
Series: The Elementae #1
Published by Bloomsbury on January 30th 2018
Pages: 448
Format:ARC
Source:ALA
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Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

This intense, richly drawn high-fantasy by the author of Scarlet will hold readers spellbound.

I did not dislike this. I also didn’t exactly love it either. Like- it had elements that I enjoyed for sure. Loved the family focus, the setting, the complicated relationships. But at the end of the day, it really just wasn’t “new” enough for me to be blown away? I’ll probably continue the series, because I did like the characters enough, but I really hope it gets a little… fresher, I suppose?


Unearthed by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Unearthed #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 9th 2018
Pages: 336
Format:ARC
Source:ALA
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When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...

I liked Unearthed. The concept was cool, and I loved the sense of adventure. I want to go search the temples too, but in a less “oh crap I might die” way. And I liked the characters, and how they had to keep deciding if they could trust each other. There were a few things that I thought felt a bit “easy”, but it was overall a fast, fun read! But then I finished the book, a full year and a half before the sequel will be out, and that was silly.


The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Series: The Belles #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on February 6th 2018
Pages: 448
Format:ARC
Source:ALA
GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

The premise of The Belles is A+. I also loved the characters, and the strong female friendships that develop. I was fascinated by the girls being able to change appearance, and all the rules that accompanied it. Obviously, the wealthy and those in power had a lot of control and there was a lot of crappy stuff happening that Camellia didn’t know before she officially became a Belle. My only real complaint with the book was that it seemed longer than it needed to be, and was often more descriptive than it needed to be. I’ll definitely be reading book two though! Also, can we talk about that cover?! So much pretty!

Have you read any of these books? Agree? Disagree? Have any of them pre-ordered? I want to know!

Posted December 23, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Quasi-Review, Review / 12 Comments


12 responses to “Inarticulate Book Musings: 2018 Edition

  1. Oh no, sorry to hear you didn’t like Cruel Prince! I’ve heard nothing but good things so far. I feel like the main reason I want to read it is because I liked Coldest Girl by Holly Black, and so I like her writing, and I want to see what she will do with faeries. And the characters sound kind of interesting. Hopefully I’ll get to read it eventually. Unearthed sounds pretty cool too!

  2. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy The Cruel Prince! Ive heard a lot of hype about it and since it’s been a while since I read any good fae-themed books, I have high expectations for it. I will try to lower it though 😀

  3. Kel

    I’m looking forward to Unearthed, so I’m glad you liked it! The others are more like, I might try them if they land in my lap, but I’m not actively seeking/hunting them? Hope the next round of books goes well, and in case I forget to say it later, Merry Christmas!

  4. Unearthed is one I really want to read. I want to search all the temples too! Sounds like something I’d like. And Reign the Earth looks promising, maybe it’s that awesome cover, but based on your thoughts maybe I’ll wait on that one or get a library copy. Doesn’t sound like essential reading. Or maybe I’ll just wait for the second one and read em back to back. Unearthed though- yeah definitely!!

  5. It’s almost imperative that I wait until a series is finished before picking up book 1, because I am very likely NOT to read the rest of the series. Waiting until 2019…nope, kiss of death. I haven’t read any of these but excited for Belles!

  6. You know, I actually have all four of these books, but I am slow to reach for physical ARCs or non-contemporary books. Unearthed is high on my list though, because I loved the last Spooner-Kaufman collaboration so much.

  7. I’m glad to hear you mostly enjoyed The Belles! I’ve had an ARC for a while and have been waiting until I have time to really sit down and commit and enjoy it (I’m hoping that will be the week after Christmas!) I want to read The Cruel Prince simply because everyone’s been freaking out about it, but I have to admit I’ve only read one other book by Holly Black (The Darkest Part of the Forest) and I was pretty let down by it (I’m really picky when it comes to books about Fae!)

  8. AHHHHHHHHHHHH you have read The Belles already, you’re SO lucky! It’s my most anticipated book of 2018 for sure. I am so happy to hear you enjoyed it so much, it makes me even more impatient to get around to it. And yes, that cover is GORGEOUS, I agree 🙂
    I’m sorry to hear you weren’t such a fan of The Cruel Prince, I feel like everyone has been LOVING this book, I’m glad to hear you have a different opinion on it ahah 🙂
    Lovely reviews! 🙂 xx

  9. I was on the fence about Reign the Earth and Cruel Prince, and now you’ve convinced me to give them a pass (at least for now). I did just recently read Coldest Girl in Coldtown and I loved it, but I don’t need anything to re-slumpify me. 🙂 I’m going to be reading The Belles soon, so it’s good to see your thoughts—the details will probably get to me a bit too, but now I’m prepared!

  10. Didn’t you like The Cruel Prince? That makes me sad as I did really love that one but when book slumps happen then it can affect your reading. And maybe it just wasn’t the book for you. I’ve heard good things about Unearthed so I want to read that at some point, it seems like the kind of book i’d really enjoy.

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