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Top Ten Upcoming 2017 Book Releases!

I may have mentioned at some point that I write bi-weekly reviews for a local newspaper [suindependent.com]. Recently they requested an upcoming releases feature and I was more than happy to oblige. Some of the text may look familiar from other posts I’ve done, but don’t let that distract from your excitement of these awesome new books!

Top Ten Upcoming 2017 Book Releases!


Book Info: Apex by Mercedes Lackey [Hunter #3]

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Mercedes Lackey strikes again!! Hunter and Elite are easily my favorite YA releases from the last couple of years. They have interesting characters, great action, awesome fantasy elements (with a slight dystopian twist), and a storyline revolving in no small part around competition. I totally devoured them, and have been waiting impatiently all year for the next book.


Book Info: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson [Stormlight Archive #3]

Release Date: November 14, 2017

I imagine Oathbringer is number one on most people’s list of most anticipated releases of 2017. The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance are two of the best books I’ve ever read and I consider them must-reads for the genre. Having read everything Sanderson has on the market, I’m justifiably confident that this third Stormlight Archive book is going to be amazing! I CAN’T WAIT!!!


Book Info: Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson [Goldseer #3]

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy is my all time favorite teen fantasy series, and I have to say, even though the Walk on Earth a Stranger and Like a River Glorious leaned more towards historical fiction than fantasy, I enjoyed them immensely. This author writes amazing characters, compelling plot lines, and completely immerses her readers into her stories. I have no doubt Into the Bright Unknown will be a stellar conclusion to this great series.


[May 16, 2017] Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb

Book Info: Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb [Fitz and the Fool #3]

Release Date: May 9, 2017

I’m very passionate about Hobb’s epic Fitz and the Fool saga. There have been so many profound moments throughout it, and it only seems to get more poignant with each book. I’m especially excited for Assassin’s Fate because it’s likely going to incorporate characters from The Rain Wilds series (which focused heavily on dragons <3), so I couldn’t be more excited. This is the sort of armchair adventure series that’s guaranteed to be a good read every time. I can’t wait!


Book Info: Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead [Glittering Court #2]

Release Date: June 27, 2017

Richelle Mead has long been one of my top authors. The Glittering Court was the perfect cure for my Selection (the series by Kiera Cass) hangover. It had smart writing, girls in pretty dresses, and a fun dynamic between all the characters. Even though the story took an odd turn (for my tastes, anyway), I’m still eager to see where things go in the Midnight Jewel.


Book Info: Iron Gold by Pierce Brown [Iron Gold #1]

Release Date: October 31, 2017

If you haven’t yet read Red Rising [check out my Trilogy Review], chances are good that you’ve at least heard of it. And let me assure you, it’s worth every bit of the hype it receives. Iron Gold is a next-generation continuation of the story, and you’d better believe I’m excited to read it. Brown created such a cool framework for his society, and I am most eager to see how it has evolved after Morning Star’s events. October can’t come too soon!


August 15, 2017

Book Info: Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

Release Date: August 15, 2017

I raved about this series in my reviews of Fifth Season & Obelisk Gate, and can’t imagine Stone Sky being any less brilliant. It’s such a unique story. Maybe a little hokey on occasion, but I guarantee you’ve never read anything quite like it. I’m mostly looking forward to having all of my questions answered… there are so many layers of mystery in this series that will hopefully come together with a bang.


Book Info: Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey [The Expanse #7]

Release Date: December 5, 2017

Reason for Recommending: The Expanse series is easily my favorite space opera science fiction on the market. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every book so far and hope Persepolis Rising regains some of that awesome momentum that Babylon’s Ashes was missing. The series has a lot of action, great characters, and tons of memorable moments. If you haven’t picked it up yet, what are you waiting for? It’s awesome!


Book Info: Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan [Draconis Memoria #2]

Release Date: June 27, 2017

Reason for Recommending:  The Waking Fire is one of the best books I’ve ever read – it felt like it was written just for me! Dragons, adventure, steampunk, and so much more – it was awesome! Sandrunners: A Draconis Memoria short story was pretty good, but it didn’t do much to hold me over. I’m so excited for Legion of Flame, I can hardly stand it. Is it June yet?


Book Info: Obsidian and Stars by Julie Eshbaugh [Ivory and Bone #2]

Release Date: June 13, 2017

If you caught my recent review of Ivory and Bone, you’ll remember me saying I really enjoyed the book, but had a few issues with the logistics feeling a bit forced. Eshbaugh was modeling the story after Pride and Prejudice, trying to follow the same basic storyline. I am really hopeful that this sequel will feel a little more organic and free-flowing. I’m anticipating liking it even more. Ivory and Bone had such a cool prehistoric setting that I find myself already eager for more!


With so many great upcoming releases to look forward to, I feel I still have the best of 2017 to look forward to. I’ve added all of these amazing books (plus a few honorable mentions) to a shelf on my Goodreads page if you’d like to go read more about them. Please note that release dates are subject to change at any moment (and do), so don’t take my word as final. Happy reading! :-)

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Fate by Robin HobbTitle: Assassin’s Fate

Author: Robin Hobb

Series: The Fitz and The Fool #3

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: March 7, 2017

The Overview: Prince FitzChivalry Farseer’s daughter Bee was violently abducted from Withywoods by Servants of the Four in their search for the Unexpected Son, foretold to wield great power. With Fitz in pursuit, the Servants fled through a Skill-pillar, leaving no trace. It seems certain that they and their young hostage have perished in the Skill-river. Clerres, where White Prophets were trained by the Servants to set the world on a better path, has been corrupted by greed. Fitz is determined to reach the city and take vengeance on the Four, not only for the loss of Bee but also for their torture of the Fool. Accompanied by FitzVigilant, son of the assassin Chade, Chade’s protégé Spark and the stableboy Perseverance, Bee’s only friend, their journey will take them from the Elderling city of Kelsingra, down the perilous Rain Wild River, and on to the Pirate Isles.

Nik’s Notes:

I’m very passionate about Hobb’s epic Fitz and the Fool saga. There have been so many profound moments throughout it, and it only seems to get more poignant with each book. I’m especially excited for Assassin’s Fate because it’s likely going to incorporate characters from The Rain Wilds series (which focused heavily on dragons<3), so I couldn’t be more excited. This is the sort of armchair adventure series that’s guaranteed to be a good read every time. I can’t wait!

 If you have not yet read this author, I would recommend starting with the Assassin’s Apprentice. :-)

What book are you looking forward to?

By Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

August 11, 2015

Title: Fool’s Quest

Author: Robin Hobb

Series: The Fitz and The Fool #2

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: After nearly killing his oldest friend, the Fool, and finding his daughter stolen away by those who were once targeting the Fool, FitzChivarly Farseer is out for blood. And who better to wreak havoc than a highly trained and deadly former royal assassin? Fitz might have let his skills go fallow over his years of peace, but such things, once learned, are not so easily forgotten. And nothing is more dangerous than a man who has nothing left to lose…

The Book Review:

After loving Robin Hobb for so long, I kept thinking there’d come a point where her work would stop dazzling me at every turn. That maybe I’d get used to it or something. What I didn’t expect was to love her more and more with every book, and Fool’s Quest was one of her best yet!

After following Fitz’ journey for eight books now, I am at the point in the story where every minute revelation about the characters or the world (and the history and magic within it) strikes me as profound. I find myself completely immersed in the pages, eagerly seeking my next discovery – discoveries that percolate in my brain and keep me thinking about them months, even years later. But that’s just the kind of brilliant storyteller Robin Hobb is. I remember with the same vivid clarity things that happened in the first trilogy as I do those that happened within the last book. The ending of Fool’s Fate rocked my world so much, it’s partially responsible for why I started a book blog (I just HAD to talk about it).

I think part of the reason these books have such an impact is the culmination of story. What made Fool’s Quest so profound is that it finally converged Fitz’ tale with Hobb’s other stories (Liveship & Rain Wild) that were only on the periphery up until this point – and it was AWESOME in the truest sense of the word. It’s as if all that came before was one long buildup to this brilliant moment where everything finally converges… AND THEN THE BOOK ENDED!!! And I’m on the floor sobbing because I have to wait another year to experience the final book in the trilogy.

What makes these books hard to wait for is what also makes them so special to me. They evoke real emotion and a sense of love and loss that is almost unparalleled by anything else I’ve ever read. Hobb continues to make a very compelling case to claim the spot as my favorite author. When I think about my reading experience, I’m always grateful for her books and how they’ve shaped me as a reader, reviewer, and writer.

Overall, if you like fantasy, I consider Hobb a must-read. The slow pacing of her stories allows you to savor every moment and become completely immersed in this world and these characters. I always come away with a fulfilled sense of having lived another life. I can’t help but recommend them as often as I can start with Assassin’s Apprentice, you won’t regret it!

*Thank you Random House Publishing Group, NetGalley, and Robin Hobb for the chance to read and review an early copy of Fool’s Quest– you made my year!!

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Mini Book Review: Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Title: Blood of Dragons

Author: Robin Hobb

Series: Rain Wild Chronicles #4

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Overview: The dragons’ survival hangs in the balance in the thrilling final volume in the acclaimed River Wilds chronicles fantasy series. The dragons and their dedicated band of keepers have at last found the lost city of Kelsingra. The magical creatures have learned to use their wings and are growing into their regal inheritance. Their humans, too, are changing. As the mystical bonds with their dragons deepen, Thymara, Tats, Rapskal, and even Cedric, the unlikeliest of keepers, have begun transforming into beautiful Elderlings raked with exquisite features that complement and reflect the dragons they serve.

But while the humans have scoured the empty streets and enormous buildings of Kelsongra, they cannot find the mythical silver wells the dragons need to stay health and survive. With enemies encroaching, the keepers must risk “memory walking”- immersing themselves in the dangerously addictive memories of long-deceased Elderlings – to uncover clues necessary to their survival. And time is of the essence, for the legendary Tintaglia, long feared dead, has returned, wounded in a battle with humans hunting dragon blood and scales. She is weakening and only the hidden silver can revive her. If Tintaglia dies, so, too, will the ancient memories she carries – a devastating loss that will ensure the dragons’ extinction.

The Mini Review:

I can’t say enough good things about Robin Hobb. If she’s not my favorite author, she’s at least in my top three. Blood of Dragons concludes her Rain Wild Chronicles, a series which takes place on the periphery of her FitzChivalry books. My favorite thing about these “spinoffs” is the expansion of the world I love and the most excellent portrayal of dragons. Many authors write dragons with human personalities, desires, and motives. Hobb’s dragons are bestial and almost alien in their behaviors and thoughts; in my opinion, every bit as authentic as good dragons should be. It was awesome! I don’t know that we’ll see a continuation anytime soon, but after finally learning more about Elderling lore (often alluded to throughout the entire Farseer saga and finally just scratching the surface of possibilities here) I can’t see her just leaving it at that. If you’re a Hobb fan, The Rain Wild Chronicles is a must-read. If you’re a fantasy fan, this author is well worth your time! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a new Fitz and the Fool tale to dive into…

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

fool's questTitle: Fool’s Quest

Author: Robin Hobb 

Series: The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy #2

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: August 11, 2015

The Overview: None listed on goodreads yet… odd. BN says: After a devastating confrontation, FitzChivalry Farseer is out for blood—and who better to wreak havoc than a highly trained former royal assassin?

It should say: these are the best books ever. Read them.

… but start with Assassin’s Apprentice or else nothing will make sense.

 Hosted by Breaking the Spine

This is currently my most anticipated adult release of 2015. Fool’s Assassin was easily one of the best books I read last year (Not to mention that Robin Hobb is one of my favorite authors EVER!). For some reason, I thought Fitz’s story was over with the conclusion of Fool’s Fate, so I am absolutely delighted that the story continues on. And you know what? It’s getting better and better! It’s one of those epic sagas that gains momentum with each book, and I highly recommend them if you love fantasy as much as I do. It’s going to be agony waiting for August.

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: The Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

fools assassinTitle: Fool’s Assassin

Author: Robin Hobb

Series: The Fitz and The Fool #1

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: FitzChivalry—royal bastard and former king’s assassin—has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, FitzChivalry Farseer is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart, Molly, and leading the quiet life of a country squire. Though Fitz is haunted by the disappearance of the Fool, who did so much to shape Fitz into the man he has become, such private hurts are put aside in the business of daily life, at least until the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers casts a sinister shadow over Fitz’s past . . . and his future. Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one. . . .

Want more details? Head here: www.atrandom.com/fools-assassin

fool's assassin 2

The Review:

Before I get into talking specifics about Fool’s Assassin, you should know that Fool’s Fate (the last Hobb book that included these characters) was the story that single-handedly made me want to start a book blog. It was profound and wonderful – a perfect completion to the story arc that had been developing since the Assassin’s Apprentice. I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed the pieces out of that book. Most importantly, it was so mesmerizing that even though I read it a couple of years ago I still remember every detail – it’s likely to stick with me for the rest of my life. I don’t usually have such a profound connection to a story and its characters, but those rare occasions when I do is proof that books are magical. So, having finished Fool’s Fate feeling completely satisfied with the ending, I was thrilled when I found out Hobb decided to continue the story.

There’s more?!!!! :D

Although several years had passed for the characters, picking up Fool’s Assassin brought me back home. It’s as if nothing had changed – the people were rounded and interesting (because they are too real to be considered mere “characters”), the world was rich and familiar (especially because I’ve since explored more of it in the Liveship Trilogy and the Rain Wild Chronicles), and the plot was totally immersive. Hobb conveys such a great depth of character that I was immediately absorbed back into Fitz’s world. All of the things he’s gone through on his journey came tumbling back over me in waves of joy and sorrow, but I also found myself hopeful for his future as he faced several new challenges.

Without giving much away, I feel it’s prudent to point out that Hobb spent a good portion of the book introducing some amazing new characters (don’t worry, there were plenty of meaningful passages with beloved characters too). Because of this, however, the overall arc of the story really didn’t come into play until near the end of the book. A couple of my fellow reviewers didn’t love how long the story took to get going, but seemed to agree that it was still oddly absorbing. While I can definitely see where they are coming from, I love being in Fitz’s world so much that every moment felt golden and purposeful. It gave me new insight into Fitz himself (which I loved seeing) and also made me fall in love with some of the new characters. I think the bond they formed with both Fitz and the reader will be very important going forward. I loved every bit of this book and was incredibly sad when ended. It was heart-wrenching and beautiful, and the next one can’t come too soon.

I consider The Fool’s Assassin a must-read for any fan of the series, but would strongly recommend that anyone new to Hobb’s work start with Assassin’s Apprentice, where all the magic began! It takes a while to fully appreciate the beauty of the story, but it is well worth the wait!

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes