Currently Reading & Watching: Part III

October has been a crazy month and while I’ve been reading a lot, I’m also doing a lot of work on the book tours, my actual job, and other adult things. You know, like cooking, cleaning, crying because I’m stressed – the usual!

Anyways, I wanted something light to post today, so here’s what I’m currently reading and watching!

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ARC Review: Kingdom of the Wicked

I finished Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco in the beginning of September and wrote my review immediately after, but wanted to wait until AFTER the #GetWickedTour ended to post my review. Thank you JIMMY Patterson Books for sending me a copy! We’re so thankful you got to be our first ever tour! 

I’m going to be formatting my post as if I am a part of the blog tour, though technically, I’m not. So if you’re confused, sorry about that! It’s just a fun way for me to include everything and express my love for this book!

If you haven’t been following along, please take a minute to check out the other posts from the tour and give the bloggers and bookstagrammers some love! You can access the schedule here

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September 2020 releases to put on your TBR

With only a week left in the month, I thought it would be fun to hype up some of my favorite September releases that I think people should put on their TBR! This is mostly going to be debut or not as well know releases, so no Cassie Clare or any other sequels/spin offs.

Some of these I haven’t read yet, but want to, so I’ll mark which ones I have and have not read. For the unread books, I’ll be putting in the official synopsis!

Let’s get started!

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ARC Review: White Fox

I received an eARC of White Fox by Sara Faring from Fierce Reads in exchange for an honest review.

I have been on such a thriller kick lately that this book sounded like exactly what I wanted to read. A ten year old disappearance? A chance to investigate what really happened? Spooky, creepy clues as to what may have happened popping up? It was too interesting to resist – and I loved it!

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September 2020 Mid-Month Update

This month is full of books I need to read for blog tours and for review before publication. It’s kind of stressful, but I’m also really enjoying the books I’ve read, so it’s not a chore for me. Here’s some of the books I read this month, the books I’m currently reading, and the books I plan to read next!

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Audiobook Review: Haunting the Deep

Today, I am reviewing the audiobook for Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather. This was the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to (at least fully) and it was pretty good! Finding the right speed for me was tough and I’m pretty sure I missed like half the book just zoning out listening, but I really liked the experience! Especially since I can get them through my library through Libby.

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August 2020 Wrap Up

Alright! Another month done, another list of books I read this month!

I did really well reading wise. Not only did I complete all the books on my TBR, but then I read a couple extra as well! I’m really impressed with myself – I didn’t think I was going to be able to read all of these titles in the span of 31 days, but I guess I shouldn’t doubt myself!

Check out all of the books I read in August! I have tagged reviews for most, if not, all of them for you to check out! 

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September 2020 TBR

I am going to be continuing ARC August into ARC September, because I have so many more ARCs to read, it’s not even funny. A lot of these are ones I requested and they all just happened to be fulfilled at once, so here I am, panicking. 

But, without further ado, here are the books I am going to read for September!

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ARC Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

I had to take a few days to really digest this book, because if I wrote my initial thoughts after finishing this it would just be screaming (AAAHHH) across the screen.

I won an ARC of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini from Bookish First and Tor in exchange for an honest review. I’m going to start off by saying that I love the Eragon series (though I haven’t read it in many years) so I was a little biased going into this. But let me tell you, this book is so good, it blew my expectations out of the water!

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DNF Review: Sanctuary

I received an ARC of Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher from Penguin Teen through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t think I’ve ever written a DNF (did not finish) review before, so this is a first. Usually when I DNF a book, it’s not an ARC I’ve been given by the publisher for review, it’s one that I decided to read on my own. After the whole debacle on Sunday regarding an author calling out a reviewer for DNF-ing and posting a “bad” review on Goodreads, I am a little nervous to post my thoughts.

But, the whole point of reviewing books are to review them, good or bad. So I’m gonna talk about why I DNFed this book and what my thoughts are. Surprisingly, they’re not bad at all!

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Bookish This or That – Guest Post Edition

So we’re doing something a little different today. Today, I am doing a Bookish This or That but with a twist! I teamed up with Alexa @ Writing the Universe to guess what I think her answers to these questions would be. Alexa and I have been friends for a year and a half now and I think I know her reading preferences enough to at least guess.

I am going to post my guesses for Alexa first and then below I will be posting my own responses! If you want to see Alexa’s guesses about me and her responses, make sure to check out her post!

We got this post off of Kim @ KimberlyFayeReads so be sure to give her some love!

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August 2020 Mid-Month Update

I love doing mid-month updates because it allows me to not only see my progress, but think back on the books I read that month. I still can’t believe I’ve read as much as I have and I think I might actually finish my TBR this month! I keep surprising myself every time I set a high TBR, thinking I couldn’t possibly finish all those books.

August and September are my crazy months due to all of the ARCs I received from publishers, giveaways, and what I just currently had. I’m hoping things calm down quickly so I can read books that I have been dying to read (like Kingdom of Copper!) but just don’t have the time right now. Anyways, here’s what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and what I plan to read next!

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Judging a Book by its Cover

I did this a few months ago under a different name (Making Assumptions About Books I’ve Never Read) but I thought, hey! New books, new covers, more things I haven’t had a chance to read yet – why not!?

I’m always catching myself making assumptions about books and what they’ll be about based on the cover. Usually I go for aesthetically pretty covers because I think they’re pretty (duh), which means that sometimes I buy a book without even knowing what it’s about. It’s pretty ridiculous and I really have to stop myself form doing it! Today, I am going to be making assumptions about what these books are about based on their cover and title alone. I will post the actual synopsis under my assumption so you can laugh at me at how badly I guess these books!

All of these assumptions are written BEFORE I read the synopsis and paste it below. Let me know how well you think I did on guessing these!

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New Blog Tour!

Hey guys! Some exciting news! We have a new blog tour coming out! Sign ups went out today, so if you’re interested, be sure to follow the link to sign up!

We are so excited about this book. This is an INTERNATIONAL tour and it is open to bloggers and Instagrammers alike! Instagrammers will have to be US only because you will receive a physical ARC of the book but all bloggers (US + International) are welcome! Bloggers will receive an electronic ARC for review.

This is an Own Voices book so we are prioritizing Asian reviewers, specifically Chinese reviewers, but all are welcome to apply!

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ARC Review: The Whitsun Daughters

I received a copy of The Whitsun Daughters by Carrie Mesrobian from Penguin Teen in exchange for an honest review.

So my initial read of the description got me really excited! Until I got to the ending. There were so many good things in this book and then it ultimately flopped for me. There will be some spoilers in this review, but I have marked them in case you want to remain spoiler free.

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ARC Review: Wicked Fox

I have been holding off reading Wicked Fox by Kat Cho for a while. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book honestly but it sounded so good that I didn’t want to ignore it. When I got approved as a Penguin Teen Influencer, one of the first books I received was an e-ARC of Vicious Spirits, so I knew I had to read this book.

And here we go, adding another book to the “WHY THE HECK DID I WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK!?” list. Because I cannot believe that I didn’t read this book sooner!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

So when I moved, I didn’t bring the finished copy of this book with me, I decided to bring the ARC. So yes, technically this is an ARC review – don’t come for me! lol

So off the bat, from page one, I was invested in this story. I don’t know much about the gumiho legends, so reading this book was so much fun for me! I loved learning about the legend and how these gumiho survive in today’s society, especially since people are so crowded together now.

Miyoung’s character is complex and realistic. She’s not overly friendly and good, but she’s not evil – she’s pretty human in that respect. While she’s cold to most people as a way to protect herself, she warms up around Jihoon enough for a friendship to blossom. And they’re friendship is really cute!

I loved Jihoon’s character a lot. Reading from his POVs made me so happy, except when he’s going through some not so fun stuff, because he has such a positively infectious attitude! Every time he’s positive, or nice, or optimistic, I found myself emulating that. It was so refreshing – especially compared to Miyoung’s cold, calculating demeanor. Usually we see the guys as reserved and cold and the girls are peppy and sweet, but this flip was great! It was way more realistic and showed that girls don’t have to be peppy or sweepingly optimistic to be good people.

I think my favorite thing about this book, besides the legends its based off of, are the characters. I found myself connecting with them easily and getting a good feel of their personalities and emotions. It was refreshing. Not to say that the plot isn’t great, because it is! This book was so well thought out I couldn’t stop myself from reading what happens next. In fact, most of the book I read in one sitting because I had to know what was going to happen next.

I’m so glad I have Vicious Spirits already!

This book is really, really good and I think fantasy lovers will adore this book! Especially people who enjoyed The Mortal Instruments. You have the fantasy world mixed with the real world and all the mess that comes with it!

I love it so much, it’s a starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars for me!

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If this book sounds interesting, check out A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

NetGalley vs. Edelweiss

I didn’t realize that I didn’t have a post scheduled for today so I’m kind of writing this last minute – SORRY!

I am having trouble finding posts other than reviews to write right now because I have been a reading machine. So far, I’ve been reading a new e-book every 1-3 days which means I’ve gotten through a lot of books so far this month. Which means a lot of reviews! I’m sorry if you’re looking for other content because I might have to post a lot of reviews, especially since a lot of them are upcoming August and September releases and I want to get them out near release date.

Any way – I wanted to talk about two different platforms that I use to review books: NetGalley and Edelweiss. If you don’t know what these are, they are a way for booksellers, librarians, authors, and reviewers to get their hands on upcoming book releases for purchase or review. And when I mean purchase, I mean for their library or their store. Bloggers can also receive books on these sites, but are not quite as lucky to get them as a librarian or bookseller would be.

Today, I’m going to be reviewing them and I have a lot to say – especially about Edelweiss!

First off, acceptance rate. NetGalley, by far, beats Edelweiss in this for me. While it’s hard to say how many books I’ve been denied on Edelweiss since once they archive them, they disappear from the site, the ratios can’t even compete.

For my primary NetGalley, I currently have 11 books to read and review and I have reviewed 39 so far. So far, I’ve been denied 63 books and I am currently pending and waiting on 16.

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Meanwhile, on Edelweiss, I have been approved for 2, currently pending 9, and have been denied 24. Although, technically I have been approved for 4 because I was initially denied for The Boundless, then received it through a blog tour. And I was denied for Wench but then re-requested it and received it through the publisher.

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Just from that alone, I have a better chance of getting approved through NetGalley than on Edelweiss any day! But I’ll put some (poorly done) math below! Approved / (Pending) + (Denied)

Chance of getting approved on NetGalley: 63%

Chance of getting approved on Edelweiss: 6%

Yeah, my math is probably flawed, but just looking at the percent difference makes me want to cry!

Moving on, website layout.

Personally, I like NetGalley’s look and request option more than Edelweiss.

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NetGalley is pretty simple. In your bio, you include your stats and anything that the publisher should take into consideration when looking over your request. That’s your place to shine! Then you would find the title, click on it and it brings you to this page. Then you select all the things that made you want to select the book and hit request! Although in that case, it was read now since it was an excerpt, but you get the idea! There’s also books you can Wish For, and for those you just click Wish For It and hope that you’re one of the lucky people to get it!

Edelweiss on the other hand is more complicated.

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At the top, the part I cropped out, it includes your saved profile and your profile strength.

In your profile you have a bio just like NetGalley that the publishers see, which should be as detailed and extensive as you can. You want to shine. But Edelweiss also wants you to write a whole thing on why you’re requesting the book. Which I feel is utterly pointless if our bios include the same information.

I’ve tried writing it very professionally (like my bio), very casual, included stats, didn’t include stats, any combination you can think of and it never gets me any closer to getting the book for review.

And then, if you get approved for a book, the actual review process is totally different.

NetGalley rates things on a 5 star system, you can copy that review over to your connected Goodreads, tweet that you reviewed this book, and provided tags/information to the publisher.

Edelweiss does their score out of 10 stars and includes multiple things you can rate. Writing, originality, overall, etc

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Plus, there are icons to choose to shelve the book, write notes to the publisher, share your review and more.

While NetGalley’s is more user friendly and a bit simpler, I actually appreciate Edelweiss’ system. I like that I can provide an overall rating as well as more specific ratings to explain why that might be. Then you have other icons to choose to tag, shelve, and what not which makes it a lot more organized than NetGalley.

Another thing I really like about Edelweiss is that you don’t have to have been approved for the book to review it, unlike NetGalley where you can only write reviews for books you’ve been approved for. This makes it a lot easier to increase your stats if you end up getting the book before release another way (like NetGalley or a giveaway) or if it’s still up after release!

Overall, I like NetGalley WAYYY more than Edelweiss. Not only for the fact that I actually get approved for books on their site, but because it’s a cleaner, simpler site to use. Although, I wish NetGalley had the option to re-request the book, like Edelweiss. That would save me so much heartbreak.

Which site do you like to use more?

 

 

ARC Review: The Companion

I received an electronic galley of The Companion by Katie Alender from Penguin Teen in exchange for an honest review. This review will be spoiler free.


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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The other orphans say Margot is lucky.

Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family.

Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night.

And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate.

But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome older brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself.

Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun. 


I’ve been on a thriller/horror kick recently, so when I received this book from Penguin Teen, I was jumping for joy! I really enjoyed this story and how it builds up on itself. We go from a somewhat calm beginning to terror filled mayhem and it was pretty epic!

For starters, poor Margot is suffering from nightmares after she is the sole survivor in a car crash that killed her entire family. After losing all her friends and no family to take her in, Margot ends up at a group home. Luckily, her father saved the life of Mr. Sutton, who wants to repay his debt by taking Margot in.

But Margot is not brought in selflessly – they want her to be a companion for Agatha, who has come down with a mysterious illness. Unable to talk, barely take care of herself, and generally absent from reality, Agatha isn’t much of a bother. Weird things start happening in the house and Margot realizes that things aren’t what they seem.

There were some moments in this book where I thought this was going to be a ghost story. If you’re not into that, don’t worry, it’s not! But from the creepiness level of this book it was a strong possibility. Margot experiences some scary and weird things in the house and those experiences alone would have made me run screaming for the hills. I don’t know why she didn’t run on the first day!

This book was not only very well written, but the story, the cast of characters, and Margot’s experiences made this book one of my favorite thrillers. I had suspicions on what exactly was happening, but the ending still blew my mind! I really liked the set up of Agatha and Margot’s friendship. Even though Agatha is not coherent, they still manage to communicate and cultivate a trusting friendship. It was really cool to watch this progression, especially later on in the book as Margot starts to figure out that something isn’t quite right.

One thing I didn’t like about the story though was the ending. Specifically, the fact that it ends so shortly. We get some kind of resolution, but not enough details that I felt satisfied. The book leads up to the climatic moment and the resolution afterwards fell flat for me. I either wanted a better recap of what happened or another scene before the end that explains what is going on. The ending is just too short and quick in my opinion. It’s why I can’t give this book 5 stars.

While the ending may have not been to my liking, the rest of the book is so well thought out and planned, I’m still reeling over what happened. The last 25% of the book was so fast paced and intense I didn’t want to look away to take a sip of water. With a different ending, this book probably be a 5 stars for me, but with what we have, this is a starstarstarstar.5 // 5 stars. The Companion releases on August 25th, 2020, so be sure to preorder your copy today!

Thank you again to Penguin Teen for sending me a copy for review!

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If this sounds interesting, check out They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Unpopular Book Opinions

I really couldn’t figure out what to post for today, so I’m just going to do some ranting and give my unpopular book opinions! These opinions are solely my own and are not meant to hurt, insult, or offend anyone.

Okay – let’s go!


I’m gonna start off with something easy . . .

I hate the Hunger Games

I have probably said this, like, a thousand times, but I really don’t like The Hunger Games. I tried to read it when I was younger and was absolutely bored to tears after almost 100 pages. Then I tried AGAIN a few years later at the request of one of my friends, and still couldn’t get past 100 pages. It was just boring and I didn’t like it. I know this is a huge favorite in YA, but I actually hate it. And no, I’ve never watched the movies either.

ARCs are over-valued

I am pretty active in the book community which means I do a lot of buying, selling, and trading and let me tell you, some people really over-value their ARCs. If you don’t know what an ARC is it stands for Advance Readers Copy, which is basically a bound manuscript sent to reviewers, book sellers, and librarians for early review. This helps boost sales before and after the book is published and generally helps the publisher.

But there is a whole thing, especially in YA and adult Fantasy/Science Fiction, where certain popular authors or certain books will be WAY over valued. People will only trade these books for other “unicorns”/rare books or really expensive items. Technically, trading is supposed to be a way for people to get receive ARCs for review from other people, but people turn it into a collecting nightmare.

Trading ARCs for finished copies/other purchased items is the same as selling them

On the topic of ARCs, here’s another opinion! ARCs are free books given for review and they are not meant to be sold. This brings into the ethical question of – if it can’t be sold, does trading it for an item that was purchased count as “buying” the ARC. AKA, if someone buys a book I want in exchange for me sending the ARC, does that mean they bought the ARC? In my opinion, yes.

Some people will ask for REALLY EXPENSIVE stuff for an ARC. I saw someone trading an ACOTAR by Sarah J Maas ARC asking for a copy of a book valued over $250. How is this any different from just selling it?

It’s not.

You can hate/disapprove of an author and still enjoy their work

Before anyone comes for me, hear me out.

In the example of J.K. Rowling, some people may not have realized before how awful she is as a person. Once they found out, they feel pressured to denounce her and her work entirely which puts people in a dilemma. Do they continue to enjoy something that they have for years and risk being cancelled or shunned or do they denounce the work they have found a connection with and love, ultimately giving up a part of themselves?

I hate the idea that some people have to feel like they can’t love things because the author is awful. I agree that once it is known they’re awful, we shouldn’t continue to support them (ie. purchasing items, buying their books, movies, etc) but we can continue to enjoy the things we did before. If you love Harry Potter and reread the books or rewatch the movies you own every year, feel free to continue to do so. But don’t think I condone a continued support. Nor do I believe in overlooking a problematic author simply to enjoy their work. I.E. – If you are looking for a new book and found one you’re interested in, but the author is a known racist, don’t buy their book!

E-Readers and Audiobooks are BOOKS. 

Why is this one even a debate? Books are books are books. If you listen to a book, you’re reading. If you’re using an e-reader, you’re reading. If you listen and read the book at the same time, you’re READING.

It’s so silly how people get pressed over HOW people are reading. I have friends who are blind or have very bad vision that require e-readers to enlarge texts because large print books are expensive. Or they listen to audiobooks. I also have friends who just simply enjoy listening to audiobooks or prefer e-readers over physical books. That doesn’t make them any less of a reader. And it doesn’t make people a “better” reader simply because they only read hardcover books!


I may have to make a part two to this post another time, because I don’t want to rant forever. But you get the point!

What are some of your unpopular opinions? Do you agree or disagree with anything I said?

July 2020 Wrap Up

Every time I do these wrap up posts, I feel like I barely read anything, but then I compile it together and I shock myself. This month I read 11 books, which is about the same as last month, although two of them were graphic novels so they weren’t as time consuming as the other longer or more wordy novels. I have linked all reviews for these books in the title, so if you’d like to see my thoughts, feel free to click the link and check them out!

Book I Read:

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Crave by Tracy Wolff

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Genre: YA Fantasy

Goodreads

 

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Warmaidens by Kelly Coon

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

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Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

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North and South by Gene Luen Yang, etc

Genre: YA Fantasy (Graphic Novels)

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

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Imbalance by Faith Erin Hicks, etc

Genre: YA Fantasy (Graphic Novels)

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

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A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

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Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

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The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

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The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

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Ignite the Sun by Hanna Howard

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

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Steel Tide by Natalie C. Parker

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

I’m hoping to have a good reading month for August, especially since I have to focus on a lot of ARCs I received through NetGalley. While I wasn’t intentionally trying to do the ARC August Readathon (hosted by Octavia and Shelly @ Read. Sleep. Repeat.) I basically have only ARCs on my TBR that I need to read and review, so I guess I’m participating!

If you want to see what my August TBR is, check out my TBR post here.

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: Steel Tide

Today I am going to be reviewing Steel Tide by Natalie C. Parker, the second book in the Seafire trilogy. I received an ARC of this book back in June 2019 from the ALA (American Library Association) Convention and just never got around to reading it. Finally, after getting an eARC of Stormbreak, I knew I had to make time to read this book immediately!


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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The second book in a heart-stopping trilogy that follows the captain of an all-female ship intent on taking down a vicious warlord’s powerful fleet.

Caledonia may have lost her crew, but she’s not done fighting yet. After nearly dying at the hand of a powerful foe, Caledonia is pulled from the sea and nursed back to health by a crew of former Bullets that call themselves Blades. The Blades escaped Aric Athair’s clutches and now live a nomadic existence, ready to disappear at a moment’s notice should trouble come their way.

But Caledonia wants to do more than just hide. She wants to find the Mors Navis and her beloved sisters. She wants to continue fighting Aric’s fleet and to take back the Bullet seas. She’ll need to do everything in her power to convince the Blades that fighting is their only option, that there has to be a life better than the one under Aric Athair’s reign, and that finding the women of the Mors Navis is the first step to revolution.


It’s been awhile since I last read Seafire, probably two or so years now, so jumping into this book took me a minute to get reacquainted. But once I got myself situated and familiar with what happened, it was like I never left! This book picks up where Seafire left off as Caledonia is resting and recovering from her near deadly fight with Lir. She is nursed back to health by a group of Blades, ex-Bullets who have escaped Aric’s clutches.

Maybe this was just because I had to figure out what the heck was going on, but the beginning felt a bit slow to me. After Caledonia starts to recover, she’s living life with the Blades and I was just waiting for something to happen. I remembered the first book being filled with action and adventure and I was patiently waiting for it to start back up again.

It did.

Okay, so once the action started it was actually nuts! There was so much fighting, sneaking, danger, and sailing my brain didn’t know what to do. And as we make our way to the end of the book – dread filled me. I knew what was coming.

But I guess I didn’t, cause I was totally wrong and the ending was way better than I could have guessed! I would crack open Stormbreak right now if I didn’t have other books to read right now.

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I really enjoyed the storyline and the challenges that Caledonia has to face. While revenge is always on her mind, she shifts her focus to helping the people around her too. I also appreciate the new cast of characters we get acquainted with – Pine being my favorite.

There was a certain thing that I wasn’t a fan of, but it was kind of minor in the scope of things. Overall, I really like this book, and the series in general, and can’t wait to read the final book in the series! This is a starstarstarstar // 5 stars for me.

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If this book sounds interesting, check out A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Ignite the Sun

I received a copy of Ignite the Sun by Hanna Howard from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Once upon a time, there was something called the sun… In a kingdom ruled by an evil witch, the sun is just part of a legend about light-filled days of old. Luckily for everybody in the kingdom, Siria Nightingale is headed to the heart of the darkness to try and restore the light–or she will lose everything trying.

Sixteen year-old Siria Nightingale has never seen the sun. The light is dangerous, according to Queen Iyzabel, an evil witch who has shrouded the kingdom in shadow.

Siria has always hated the darkness and revels in the stories of the light-filled old days that she hears from her best friend and his grandfather. Besides them, nobody else understands her fascination with the sun, especially not her strict and demanding parents. Siria’s need to please them is greater even than her fear of the dark. So she heads to the royal city–the very center of the darkness–for a chance at a place in Queen Iyzabel’s court.

But what Siria discovers at the Choosing Ball sends her on a quest toward the last vestiges of the sun with a ragtag group of rebels who could help her bring back the Light … or doom the kingdom to shadow forever.


This was a surprisingly quick read, even though the book is 352 pages long. Though this book is a quick read, it is not an “easy” or “light” read. This book discusses some serious topics like genocide, parental neglect, and war. But, there are some moments of light in this book between Siria and her newfound family, Yarrow and Linden.

From the beginning, I was interested in the Darkness covering their town. There is no sunlight, only lamps and a heating spell to keep everyone from freezing. I couldn’t imagine living in a world of pure darkness, controlled by an abusive Queen. All the magical creatures locked away or slaughtered to make sure she stays in power. The only thing people had were stories of the time before and even then they were just viewed as stories.

Once we get into the thick of this book, I found that I got some information about the world of the sunchildren and other mythical creatures, but not a complete picture. I wanted to learn more about the culture and the world, but we mostly learn about their powers and how to use them. While helpful, and cool, I felt like I didn’t have the full picture of this world. For one, it sounds like the sunchildren are like genetic mutations – it’s not a group of beings, they can be born to humans or nymphs, and some siblings can be sunchildren while others aren’t. Which, I don’t understand how that happens and it’s not explained much.

In fact, there was a lot of missing information by the end and too many unanswered questions. Besides the obvious, what is a sunchild and how do they appear, I wanted to know more about nymph and elf powers. Mages were kind of explained, but it was basically “they have a magical item that channels their magic. The end” which isn’t super helpful.

Plus, we’re told that sunchildren have all of these great powers, and while we see some, it sounds like it’s not even a drop in the bucket. It was actually really frustrating to read such an interesting plot only to have the world building lack. And the forced romance, while cute, felt off. These characters were friends for years, Siria barely spoke to him for four years, and suddenly she’s in love? I just don’t understand.

While I enjoyed the story a lot, those discrepancies and unanswered questions bugged me and made the story more confusing at times. So while I liked the characters and the overall book, I would give this a starstarstar.5 // 5 stars.

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If this book sounds interesting, be sure to check out The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis! The sequel, The Hunter and the Mage releases on September 21st, 2020!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

August 2020 TBR

I have a very optimistic TBR for August. Three of these books I need to read in order to read the sequels, which either come out in September. The other eight books are books that come out in August/September that I need to read. And these aren’t even all of the September releases. I left three end of September releases for later and I’ll just have to read and get through at the beginning of next month.

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I don’t know if I’ve had a TBR of more than nine books before, so this should be interesting. The last three can always be read beginning of September if it comes down to that, but I want to try and get these read as soon as possible.

I ended up with a longer TBR for August due to one thing – the Penguin Teen Influencer program. I signed up and got in (yay!) but when I requested the books I wanted, I didn’t think I would get ALL of them. I requested three books for each month, August, September, and October. And in one afternoon received six of those nine books in my inbox. It was awesome yet terrifying.

See, I’m used to requesting more than normal because I’m usually declined for like 80-90% of them, so I didn’t expect to have six additional books fall into my lap. Plus I received Legendborn from the publisher and won Traitor in a giveaway. Ha ha, I’m freaking out.

What’s your August TBR looking like?

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: The Shadows Between Us

I am so happy I read this book when I did. I was reading some not so great books recently and now my luck has turned around, this one included! I’ve heard such great things about this story and it did not disappoint for me.

Today, I will be reviewing The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

Wow okay where to start with this one? I guess let’s start with characters.

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I loved Alessandra as a character. She’s tough, but not cruel. She owns her body and her sexuality, but doesn’t shame other girls for having different opinions (ie. while she may be sexually active, she does not shame other girls for waiting until marriage). She’s pretty funny and she gets stuff done! She’s pretty impressive. Then Kallias. Ugh – King Kallias is too much for me sometimes. Not because he’s ignoring Alessandra or being rude – which he definitely is – but because he’s so tortured and he just needs a hug. But, you can’t touch him, so air hug? Then we have Alessandra’s friends who are all so funny. It’s a perfect set up.

So plot wise, I couldn’t find any faults that I thought needed to be changed or were bad. In fact, I really like how the plot went and the ending is spectacular. I gasped, I was happy, I was sad, shocked, disturbed, and in the end, satisfied. This story had so many ups and downs between Alessandra and Kallias and even between other characters! So much is going on.

I was cheering on Alessandra the whole time, even when her goals changed because she’s a fun character. I liked seeing how cunning and smart she was and the fact that Kallias appreciated that! They’re one of my favorite couples now.

SPOILER ALERT!!! I will be discussing spoilers below. I will mark once the spoiler talk has ended!

SPOILERS START

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Okay so first off I have a question, because I realize this may not have been answered in the book. During Kallias’ assassination attempt at the ball, the little girl tells Alessandra that it was the man who made a toast and the woman in black who told her to come. And that the woman in black was now wearing green tonight. Lady Zervas matched the description but she claims it wasn’t her – do we know who this woman was? Is it confirmed or denied that it was Lady Zervas? And if it wasn’t – who was it?

I don’t know if we ever got that answer and I’m kinda of sad. I wanna know who it was. I was hoping that it was one of Alessandra’s friends, like Hestia or Rhoda who were actually in on the whole thing. But that didn’t end up happening.

I think that’s my only complaint plot wise – we never confirm or deny who this woman is and why she’s important.

One other thing I do want to mention too was I wasn’t a fan of how Kallias reacted to Alessandra’s murder charge. He doesn’t worry that she will try to murder him? He pardons her immediately? I just don’t understand his reasoning besides wanting to keep the engagement and letting it slide?

I was kind of hoping for some dramatic thing where he gets upset and locks her up or throws her out. Or even her Father and her sister get her and take her home. But that didn’t happen and I wish it did. I feel like that would have been pretty intense too.

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SPOILERS END

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I love the characters, the story, and certain scenes just made me fall in love with Kallias. I also really wanted to give him a hug, poor thing. All in all, this is a great fantasy standalone that I’ll probably be recommending for a while, so I think it’s obvious this is a starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars for me!

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If this book sounds interesting, check out Tricia’s other series, Daughter of the Pirate King!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: The City of Brass

HOLY COW WHY HAS NO ONE SHOVED THIS BOOK IN MY HANDS BEFORE NOW!?

I won an ARC of Empire of Gold, which is book three of the Daevabad trilogy so obviously I have to read the other books. I have been wanting to read City of Brass for so long and just never got around to it and DANGIT I hate myself for waiting so long!!

So here is my review of The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

First off, I love historical fiction fantasies. I love seeing how fantasy can fit into our past and shape the way we see history. We set our story in Cairo in the 1700’s and off the bat I was ready to go. I knew this was going to be insane and I was right!

The plot was so good. Like I’m speechless with how good the plot is and again, no one said anything? No one bothered to hit me on the head with the book and say, “read it!”?! I’m a bit disappointed. We have magic upon magic, a city filled with Daeva’s and djinn, a poor girl mixed in the middle of a mess she knows nothing about. And don’t forget the protective warrior with her.

The characters were perfection. Nahri is the kind of girl who can take care of herself until she’s thrown into this new world and has to rely on her warrior hero Dara to take care of her. Ali is like a german shepherd: tough, follows the rules, and yet is still a big softy underneath. And Dara? Well, he’s a psycho warrior, kind of like a pitbull, where he’s sweet unless you mess with him. Then he’ll mess you up. And there’s so many other fantastic characters in this story with completely different personalities. It’s great.

I found myself getting heavily invested into this story. The world building was intricate but not overwhelming and the writing made the magic come to life. By the time I finished this book I wanted to start Kingdom of Copper immediately, but I can’t and it’s killing me.

City of Brass has become one of those fantasies that I can’t stop thinking about and at this point, I’m becoming obsessive. Soon I’m gonna be hunting down fan art and bookish items for this series and all my money is gonna fly away. We’re entering the level of Throne of Glass obsession right here, so be warned.

I’m going to dive into some spoilers, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, skip down to the end!

SPOILERS START HERE:

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Okay so the ending. WHY!? First off, love the whole scene with Ali under the lake. Hearing the marid talk to him as he’s being eaten alive by this magical lake was intense and it didn’t help with the battle going on overhead. The battle on the ship was heartbreaking, especially Muntadir crying over Jamshid. And then when Ali literally rose from the dead to “kill” Dara – I WAS SCREAMING.

One thing I noticed and want to discuss is the relationship between Muntadhir and Jamshid. First off, they’re totally together and in love and I feel like Muntadhir is hiding his relationship because he knows he has to marry and have children. But then again, I’m not sure if this book discusses the Daeva’s feelings towards homosexuality and if it’s something they approve, disapprove, or are neutral on? I can’t remember. I just want everyone to be happy and if that means shipping Muntadhir and Jamshid, I’m all for it.

But as of right now, we have Muntadhir and Nahri betrothed and I’m so upset!! I don’t know what exactly happened to Dara yet and I really just want him to come back. Everything is just going to shit with them right now and it makes me so sad. I want Dara and Nahri to be able to be together even though I have a feeling that is not going to happen, at least not easily.

Plus now Ali has been banished!? What the heck!? I’m getting really invested into this world and it’s taking over all my thoughts now! I just want to know what happens next!!

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SPOILERS END HERE:

Overall, I loved this story. It mixes all my favorite genres into this one epic book that I can’t stop thinking about. I’m still recovering form the ending and I’m desperate to know what’s next. This is a strong starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars for me!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

 

ARC Review: Splinters of Scarlet

This was another book that I was supposed to review for Fantastic Flying Book Club as a part of their blog tour before I ended contact with them. Obviously, I’m going to post my review of this book, just not in relation to FFBC.

Today I will be reviewing Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy. I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by HMH.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

A YA historical fantasy set in nineteenth-century Denmark, where secrets can kill and magic is a deadly gift.

For Marit Olsen, magic is all about strategy: it flows freely through her blood, but every use leaves behind a deadly, ice-like build-up within her veins called the Firn. Marit knows how dangerous it is to let too much Firn build up—after all, it killed her sister—and she has vowed never to use her thread magic. But when Eve, a fellow orphan whom Marit views like a little sister, is adopted by the wealthy Helene Vestergaard, Marit will do anything to stay by Eve’s side. She decides to risk the Firn and uses magic to secure a job as a seamstress in the Vestergaard household.

But Marit has a second, hidden agenda: her father died while working in the Vestergaards’ jewel mines—and it might not have been an accident. The closer Marit gets to the truth about the Vestergaard family, the more she realizes she and everyone she’s come to love are in danger. When she finds herself in the middle of a treacherous deception that goes all the way up to the king of Denmark, magic may be the only thing that can save her—if it doesn’t kill her first.

From the start, this book had my full attention. There wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t enthralled with what was going on. We have a historical fantasy, set in Denmark, and a mystery all packed into one? I was smitten.

I loved the alternating POV’s in this book. We get to see the story through Marit and Philip’s eyes with Philip going between the past and the present. I thought it added extra mystery to the story instead of just seeing the world through Marit’s eyes. I kind of wish we got to see the world through Eve’s eyes as well, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t add that much to the story.

Plot wise I loved this book. We are shot forward from the very beginning as we follow Eve and Marit from the orphanage to the Vestergaard home and meet all the new people in their lives. As Marit tries to uncover what happened to her father, please Mrs. Vestergaard, and prevent the Firn from killing her, this story gets intense. The last 25% I was absorbed as we find out what exactly is going on.

Another aspect I love about this story was Marit and Eve’s relationship. Sister’s by choice stories just make me so happy and the love these two girls have for each other is endearing. It melted my heart every time they interacted with each other, especially with how Marit treats Eve. As the oldest of three girls, I know the feelings Marit has towards Eve, even if she doesn’t go through moments of rage like any normal sisters might. The love and protectiveness she has towards Eve hits home, even if they are much kinder to each other than me and my sisters are.

There wasn’t much I disliked about the story except I wish we got more background on some of the other people in the house. Liljan and Jakob become friends with Marit quickly, but we don’t really get to learn about them as much as Marit or Eve. I wanted a bit more time to get to know some of these other characters before we’re thrown into action.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I adored this story. I was so sad to finish because I didn’t want it to end. I have to give this a starstarstarstar.5 // 5 stars.

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If this story sounds interesting, check out Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

What I’m Currently Reading + Watching

My reading has lagged since starting a blog tour company so I’m doing something a little different today. Here’s what I’m currently reading and watching!

Reading:

Right now I’m currently reading –

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I’m about 50% through The City of Brass right now and since I finished A Wicked Magic and Splinters of Scarlet, I’m going to start two new books. Ignite the Sun is another NetGalley read I need to get off my list and The Shadows Between Us is a fun, short read I’ve been wanting to get through for a while.

Watching:

www.gstatic.com/tv/thumb/tvbanners/11232067/p11...    Zoey 101 (TV Series 2005–2008) - IMDb    Hannah Montana (TV Series 2006–2011) - IMDb    Cursed (TV Series 2020– ) - IMDb

My boyfriend and I are currently on season 3 of Legend of Korra. This is a rewatch for me, but it’s his first time watching the show. So far he really likes it and I’m just happy to have someone who understands my obsession with this show!

I’ve been on a nostalgia kick recently so I’ve been rewatching old shows I loved as a kid/teen. Currently, I’m on season 1 of Zoey101 and on season 4 of Hannah Montana. It feels so weird to rewatch these shows and have the memories of their premiere or sitting down in my parent’s home to watch with my little sisters. Makes me miss my childhood a little bit.

I’m debating if I want to start watching Cursed. I’ve been hearing some controversial things about the book and the show. Part of me wants to watch to know why, the other part wants to avoid it at all costs. If anyone has started watching the show or read the book, let me know if I should give this a try or not.

 

Nostalgia Book Tag

I had some serious nostalgia hit me today as I was looking through old books I had read back in middle school. It’s been so long since I had read some of these, so I wanted to create a tag that would make everyone feel nostalgic. So – here is the Nostalgia Book Tag!

Nostalgia GIFs | Tenor

Rules:
– Thank the person who tagged you
– Answer all the questions down below
– Pingback to the creator (me): Sammy @ We Write at Dawn
– Nominate 3+ bloggers you’d like to do this tag!

The first book you’ve ever read

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I had to read a lot in elementary school for school, so technically this isn’t the first book I’ve ever read, but it’s the first one I picked out to read outside of school. The first series I ever read on my own was The Percy Jackson series. My fifth grade teacher read The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan to us and I was hooked. I read the first book on my own that summer and read every book that came after it and I was hooked. I’ve had a book in my hand ever since.

 

Your favorite book from middle school

I read a lot in middle school, so there was a lot of books I deemed my favorite. The three series I remember adoring in middle school was The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I could not get enough of those books and would reread them all the time.

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A book you read that no one has seem to read before

There’s several books that I’ve read that none of my friends, or anyone I talk to, know about so I’ll list them:

Shadowland by Meg Cabot
Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan
Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber
The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer

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These are the few I could think of off the top of my head, but I loved these series in middle school and I really want to reread them now!

Worst book you’ve read

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Worst book I’ve read, that wasn’t for school, would probably have to be the first book I ever DNFed (did not finished), which was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I read 5 chapters in middle school and hated it. Tried reading it again in high school and just couldn’t do it. It was just so bad I couldn’t get through it.

 

An author you loved when you were younger

I loved so many authors but I’d have to say that I loved Meg Cabot a lot when I was younger. I could pick up any of her books and instantly fall in love, no matter the genre.

An author you hated when you were younger

I don’t know that I necessarily hated anyone, but I definitely was very mad at Stephanie Meyer and Cassandra Clare as I read their books!

A book you swore you would never read – and then finally did.

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I was hesitant to read Harry Potter when I was younger. Back in elementary school a lot of my friends had read them and loved them, but I wasn’t a stronger reader then and the books were very big. I didn’t want to embarrass myself trying to read them, so I said I never would. I refused to read them for a while, and then in 7th grade, I cracked. Finally read them and got on the HP bandwagon until JK went full bigot and I quickly hoped off.

 

A book you’re embarrassed to admit you read and loved

Twilight. Need I say more?

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Favorite book memory when you were younger

Every year my family would go to Florida for Thanksgiving to see my grandmother and we would go to the local bookstore and get new books for me to read. I would spend the whole vacation reading by the pool, at my grandma’s house, in the hotel – anywhere and everywhere. In the week we would be there I could get through a book a day with how much I read. I kind of miss it.

A book from your childhood you’ll cherish forever

The Lightening Thief kickstarted my love for reading and The Mortal Instruments helped propel it forward. Those two books will forever be books that I can go back to and love again and again.

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I tag:

Alexa @ Writing the Universe

Morr @ Morrbooks

Belle @ Bellearchive

 

 

ARC Review: A Wicked Magic

This book was given to me for review by the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club. After hearing all the awful things that FFBC was doing, I formally left the tour. I was supposed to post my review for their blog tour, but instead, I will simply be posting my review for the author and the publisher.

Today, I am reviewing A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens, a debut YA paranormal novel about two teenage witches who unwillingly band together to fix the magical mess they’ve made. This title releases on July 28th, so be sure to preorder a copy today!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The Craft when modern witches must save teens stolen by an ancient demon in this YA fantasy-thriller debut.

Dan and Liss are witches. The Black Book granted them that power. Harnessing that power feels good, especially when everything in their lives makes them feel powerless.

During a spell gone wrong, Liss’s boyfriend is snatched away by an evil entity and presumed dead. Dan and Liss’s friendship dies that night, too. How can they practice magic after the darkness that they conjured?

Months later, Liss discovers that her boyfriend is alive, trapped underground in the grips of an ancient force. She must save him, and she needs Dan and the power of The Black Book to do so. Dan is quickly sucked back into Liss’s orbit and pushes away her best friend, Alexa. But Alexa has some big secrets she’s hiding and her own unique magical disaster to deal with.

When another teenager disappears, the girls know it’s no coincidence. What greedy magic have they awakened? And what does it want with these teens it has stolen?

Set in the atmospheric wilds of California’s northern coast, Sasha Laurens’s thrilling debut novel is about the complications of friendship, how to take back power, and how to embrace the darkness that lives within us all.

I really enjoyed this book. It was magical and fun with some very interesting characters. The beginning pulled me in quickly, but I found that the middle was pretty slow. I felt like the beginning and end were well thought and executed, but the middle was lagging in terms of action. It began to feel repetitive as the same issues rose up for Dan and Liss that they had to work through.

Alexa’s story on the other hand got my attention. I wanted to read more about her and what was going on with Lorelai’s investigation. The whole first half of the book was focused on Dan and Liss’ situation with occasional sections on Alexa – but in the second half we get to see her a lot more and that’s when things get interesting.

Focusing on the plot, this book was so good. The actual events that go on and what these girls have to face was insane and super creepy. I wish I had read this book for Halloween with the amount of creepy, eerie things that happen. I also was a bit upset about who Alexa ended up with, because I was kind of rooting for someone else. On the other hand, she ends up with a really sweet girl and seems really happy.

For the characters, we see a lot of growth between the three, especially for Liss in my opinion. Honestly, I didn’t like Liss’ character at all in the beginning, but after finding out more about her home situation and her motivation for things, I just feel sorry for her. The changes she goes through made her into a much healthier person and I loved seeing her growth. Dan also goes through a much needed change and comes out a healthier, hopefully happier, person.

One thing that I think the author was trying to make cannon was Dan’s sexuality. We know Liss is straight (or at least very interested in her boyfriend Johnny) and Alexa is gay, but we never learn about Dan. Not that it’s important, but I can’t help but wonder where the author was going for her. See, in the book, Dan comes across as ace (asexual) or somewhere along the ace spectrum. But it’s never confirmed, denied, or really discussed. Part of me wants an answer, but it doesn’t really affect the story much whether or not she is. I’m just curious, I guess.

Overall, this book was written beautifully and it dives into things like self harm, depression, abusive home life, and other important conversations like that. These issues are discussed and handled carefully and I appreciate the work the author put in to represent these topics well. Though the middle was really slow for my taste, I think this book was still awesome. I loved learning about how magic worked in this world and pairing it with real teenage problems.

I think a lot of people will not only enjoy this book, but learn that things aren’t always what they seem. So, I’m giving this a starstarstarstar // 5 stars!

 

 

Fall 2020 Releases I Can’t Wait to Get My Hands On!

These are books from September to December 2020 that I not only can’t wait to read, but will probably have 50 copies of each! This isn’t EVERY book I’m excited for, and this list will probably be update 50 times before the end of this year, but this is the majority! I can’t wait to read all of these!!

September:

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October:

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November:

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December:

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What are your some of your most anticipated reads for the fall?

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

 

 

ARC Review: Wicked As You Wish

I received an exclusive advance copy of Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco from Fairyloot and I loved it! My review is not in affiliation with Fairyloot and I paid for the box the book came in.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

When a hidden prince, a girl with secrets, a ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and a legendary firebird come together…something wicked is going down.

Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left encased in ice when the Snow Queen waged war. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona.

Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them.

A new hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala must unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.

I was worried, going into this book, that I wasn’t going to like it because a friend of mine didn’t like it and DNFed it really early. But once I started reading it I was immediately sucked in! There is a lot of American history and politics at the start (because this world is set in an alternate universe from ours), but it quickly moves along quickly.

The plot is immaculate. I mean such good plotting and storytelling goes on in this book. Even with all the crazy politics that have to be followed, and there are some crazy politics in this world, it’s so captivating. Especially once we meet the Snow Queen’s minions.

With a diverse cast of characters we’re off to save the world and the kingdom of Avalon from the evil Snow Queen. One thing I really like about this world is that it’s not only a magical version of ours, but incorporates actual fairytales into the history. Snow White, Sleeping Beaty, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Robin Hood, King Arthur, any and all fairytales you can think of are real people in this world, just not all at the same time.

Our rag tag team is so much fun too and each personality adds another layer to our group’s overall personality, and makes the team that much more interesting. I love a lot of the jokes between these new friends and I kinda miss them. Each has their own weapon and their own skill to help Prince Alex, or just Alex, as well as their own distinct trait/thing that they add and feed off of each other.

Because this is a political fantasy, if you don’t want to read about American politics then I would avoid this title. But, I would recommend looking past the few pages of political history for this epic fantasy if it really bothers you. I personally loved the history and the discussion of America’s current political climate and thought it helped me connect with the story and the characters better.

Overall, this book is really good! I can’t wait to read the next one, especially after that ending! This was a solid starstarstarstar.5 // 5 stars!

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If this book sounds interesting, check out An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir or Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

July 2020 Mid Month Update

I feel myself slowing down this month. I can’t seem to finish books as quickly as I usually would and I’m stressed. Especially since I have to read two books by next week for a blog tour. After that though, I can read what I want – so hopefully once the stress is gone I can read what I feel like and get back into the swing of things . . . hopefully.

Books I read:

crave    war    wicked

Reviews for these should be up or coming up soon, but I liked all of them so far! Especially Crave by Tracy Wolff and Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco. I’m on such a fantasy kick right now I can’t seem to branch off!

Books I’m reading:

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I’m about 25% into A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens and just starting The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty and Spinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy. I’m doing a tour for Splinters of Scarlet and was supposed to do a tour for A Wicked Magic, but that fell through. Nonetheless, I’m obviously still going to review A Wicked Magic on the day I said I would, which will be Monday! I hope to finish these two soon, so fingers crossed I can get my two review books done in time!

Books I want to read:

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Some of these are a mix of review books, like Ignite the Sun by Hanna C. Howard, Hush by Dylan Farrow, and To Sleep In A Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini – while the others are just for fun! I’m trying to mix it up during the month so I get a good balance of requested/required reads and for fun reads each month. Not to say that I don’t want to read my review books (I wouldn’t have asked for them if I didn’t), I just like to add some other books that are more flexible. So if I end up not in the mood or mindset to read them, I can push them aside guilt free!

What are some books you’ve read this month? Any you’re excited to read?

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Warmaidens

Warmaidens by Kelly Coon is the sequel to Gravemaidens and releases on October 20th, 2020. If you have not read Gravemaidens yet, feel free to check out my spoiler free review here. This review will be spoiler free, but I cannot guarantee it will not spoil content from Gravemaidens

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Warmaidens is the dark, action-packed conclusion to the heartwrenching Gravemaidens fantasy duology. Kammani and the maidens are now going to war against the ruler who tried to entomb them.

Just a few moons after escaping the tomb in Alu, Kammani and the other runaway maidens have found refuge in the city-state of Manzazu. There, Kammani has become a respected healer, especially among the warriors she’s brought back from the brink of death. Now that the nightmares of Alu are fading, she can finally decide whether or not to take Dagan’s hand in marriage.

But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill the displaced queen of Alu, the maidens realize they’ve been found.

Hungry for revenge, Manzazu’s queen wants to strike back at Alu with her fiercest weapons—her scorpion warrior maidens—but Kammani knows that war harms more than it heals. To save the innocents and any chance of a future with Dagan, Kammani must take down Alu’s ruler before their lives burn up in the flames of war.

After reading Gravemaidens, I wasn’t sure how there was going to be a sequel. After reading it, I now realize there was a lot more that needed to get done after the maidens fled the tomb. 

I really enjoyed Gravemaidens and was excited to hop back into this story. Warmaidens takes place nine months after they escaped the tomb and fled Alu to Manzazu. In those nine months we see the changes these characters have gone through, especially in Kammani’s sister, Nanea. Nanea went from a wishful thinking child to a more mature women very quickly. Escaping death might do that to you. 

I found myself not liking Kammani in this book in comparison to Gravemaidens. I’m not sure what about her rubbed me the wrong way, but I was really frustrated reading through some of her thought processes. It was always brought back to being a healer and wanting to not do any harm. I felt like that was her only personality trait and it was so repetitive. Any time something happened that she was involved in, it was always brought back to this thought point. I wanted more out of her personality than that and I thought we lost some of her from Gravemaidens.

I can say though that I appreciate her growth through this book a lot. Her ability to change her viewpoint allows her to continue to develop her relationship with Dagan and Nanea in a more loving and fulfilling way. It was so sweet. 

Another thing I didn’t really care much for are the fighting scenes. Again, not sure what about them rubbed me the wrong way, but I wasn’t a fan. Except for the final fight scene – that was intense! I also didn’t like the pacing. It was a quick book, but it felt like it dragged at some points. It ended up being the same sequence of events. Plan, attack, fail, retreat – over and over again and it got repetitive. Maybe that was the point as Kammani is stuck in this loop and tries to find her way out and save herself and her friends? But it was rough reading. 

Plus, with all the jumbledness of their failed attacks and other people’s interference, the book felt jumbled as well. I liked the character growth, I liked the ending, and I liked certain scenes, but the book has some issues. 

Warning: there are remarks of rape and an attempted rape. There is also a comment of someone being “broken” after losing an arm. This definitely was hard to read through and didn’t feel right, so I did want to make note of that. Other possibly concerning things discussed are child brides and the common mention of the lack of rights for women. I understand why this was included in the book and it is discussed, but this might be upsetting so I wanted to include it. 

Overall, it was an interesting book. I wanted to reach inside the story and nicely smack some of the characters but unfortunately, I can’t. But, it was a quick read that nicely wrapped up the series for me, even if there was a lot going on. So I think I’m gonna give this a starstarstar.5 // 5 stars.

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If this book sounds interesting, be sure to check out The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review #1: Avatar: The Last Airbender Comics (1-3)

This review is going to be for the Avatar: The Last Airbender comic book collections. I thought about writing reviews for each, but honestly – that’s too much, even for me. So here is my overall review of the first three comics!

These comics take place immediately after the end of the show, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

The comics, in order, are:

  1. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise
  2. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search
  3. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Rift
  4. Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow
  5. Avatar: The Last Airbender – North and South
  6. Avatar: The Last Airbender – Imbalance

Today I will be reviewing Avatar: The Promise, The Search, and The Rift!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads for The Promise:

The Avatar’s adventures continue right where the TV series left off, in this beautiful, oversized hardcover of The Promise, from Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko! Aang and friends must join together once again as the four nations’ tenuous peace is threatened in an impasse between Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei! As the world heads toward another devastating war, Aang’s friendship with Zuko throws him into the middle of the conflict! Featuring annotations by Eisner Award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and artist Gurihiru (Thor and the Warriors Four), and a brand-new sketchbook, this is a story that Avatar fans need in an edition they will love!

And the synopsis from Goodreads for The Search:

The biggest mystery of Avatar, the fate of Fire Lord Zuko’s mother, is revealed in this remarkable oversized hardcover collecting parts 1–3 of The Search, from Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko!

Featuring annotations by Eisner Award–winning writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and artistic team Gurihiru (Thor and the Warriors Four), and a brand-new sketchbook, this is a story that Avatar fans need in an edition they will love!

And finally, the synopsis from Goodreads for The Rift:

Avatar Aang and friends honor an Air Nomad holiday that hasn’t been celebrated in over one hundred years, but when cryptic visits from the spirit of Avatar Yangchen lead Aang to a refinery operating on land sacred to the Airbenders–they soon find themselves in peril as a dangerously powerful ancient spirit awakens with vengeance and destruction on its mind!

This collection of The Rift Parts 1-3 features annotations by Eisner Award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and artists Gurihiru (Thor and the Warriors Four), with a brand-new sketchbook section!

After my rewatch of Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix, I had to read the comics. I had been wanting to read them for years and it made sense to read them now that the show was fresh in my mind. Since these comics pick up right where the show left off, it really was like another season, just printed instead of animated.

Since I had watched Korra several years ago, I knew that Aang and Katara end up together, but seeing their fresh relationship in the comics is really cute! And Toph and Sokka’s reactions to it make it that much cuter.

For The Promise, we get to see Zuko as the new Fire Lord and what happens to the Fire Nation after Ozai is overthrown. I really liked the story line and the overall changes that happen in this world. How separate nations can not only live together, but become integrated into their own world – kind of like how our world is now. You can have people from different nations living in different areas of the world and people aren’t restricted to loving people solely from their group.

For The Search, I was just happy to find out what happened to Zuko’s mom! We never got resolution from the show and to finally know what happened to her is so nice. Plus all the stuff that comes afterwards. I thought her story was not only really cool, but also really sad. We get a lot of backstory into Zuko’s relationship with his mom, her relationship to Ozai, and how this all affects Azula as well.

For The Rift, we get some closure for Toph. We know from Legend of Korra that Toph teaches other people how to metal bend and in this story, we see her first students at her new school. And we also find out about some history with the last airbender Avatar along with some other cool things in the spirit world! The thing I love the most was this one scene with Toph, which I will not spoil, because it just gives everyone some much needed closure and it’s really sweet!

Overall – I’m a huge Avatar nerd. I love the show, I love the comics, and I love the spin offs! After I finish the rest of these comics I am definitely reading the Korra comics and the Kyoshi comics too! I just need more Avatar in my life overall. I don’t even have to rate these because it’s very clear that these are all a starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars for me!

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I haven’t read many comics in my life, so I’m just gonna suggest you watch Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legen of Korra because they’re great shows. Also, read the comics!!!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review + Blog Tour: Mayhem

I am so excited to be a part of the Mayhem blog tour through Wednesday Books! I was lucky enough to win a copy of Mayhem by Estelle Laure through the Wednesday Books giveaway, Nostalgia Hour, a couple months ago and when I saw the opportunity to jump on this blog tour, I had to take it!

Book Information:

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Here is the synopsis through Goodreads:

A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.

It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.

From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.

Review:

When I read the synopsis I knew I had to read this book. Feminist mash up? Inspired by The Craft? Sign me up! I was so excited to read this book, until I start reading it. This was a really intense book that I honestly didn’t expect and I have a lot of thoughts on it. 

One thing I wish I knew going into this book was that the beginning (and some of the tones in general) are pretty heavy. In the final draft there will be a note from the author discussing some of the more serious topics in this novel, but I didn’t get a letter or a warning for the ARC. There is a lot of heaviness to this book, including rape, suicide, assault, murder, and drug abuse. I didn’t realize how intense this book was until I started reading, but Laure does a great job in discussing these issues and not just using them as a shock factor or background. While I would have liked to know those topics would be discussed, I think the author did a good job in discussing them.

I will include Laure’s note, which will be printed in final copies, below in the Author Information section.

The beginning was a bit “slow” in a way as we’re introduced to Mayhem and Roxy, as well as their past. We learn about why Roxy left Santa Maria and why they’re returning home after all these years. I like how Laure mixes in the past with the present to give one cohesive story. Though, I found that the plot of the book didn’t start until more than halfway through.

I wanted more of The Craft, feeling wise, and I didn’t get it. The majority of the book felt like a contemporary novel as Mayhem deals with her and her mother’s past once they return to Santa Maria. The fear of Mayhem’s step-father coming after them, relearning how to feel safe, dealing with her mother’s addiction – it’s a lot for a teen. And honestly, if that was the whole book, I would have been satisfied. The focus on Mayhem and her mother’s relationship, and working through their trauma, would have been a beautiful book.

But once the magic is added in, about 50% through, it changes the feel of the story. I liked the magic, though I didn’t understand it fully. My only complaint is that since the magic and this new storyline comes in late, I wish we had more time with it.

The main climatic event is fast and it left me unsatisfied. I wanted more to solving the mystery, more to the magic, and more in general.

Overall, I like the story and I loved watching Mayhem and Roxy reconnect. I thought the murder mystery was a cool aspect, though it wasn’t really touched on much. And the magic had so much potential, but it just felt underdeveloped unfortunately. Though I do love Laure’s writing and the Mayhem’s overall journey.

In the end, I would give this book a starstarstar.5 // 5 stars.

Author Information:

AP Estelle Laure_Credit Zoe Zimmerman

Author Bio:

Estelle Laure is a Vonnegut worshipper who believes in love and magic and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theater Arts from New Mexico State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and thinks everyone should have to wait tables or work in a kitchen at least once in their lives. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her children.

Author Note:

Dear Reader,

Like Mayhem, I experienced a period of time when my life was extremely unstable. I can still remember what it was like to be shaken so hard I thought my head would come off, to watch the room vibrate, to feel unsafe in my own home, to never know what was coming around the next corner. I wanted to run. I always wanted to run.

I ran to friends, but also movies and books, and although girls were more passively portrayed in movies like The Lost Boys back then, that feeling of teenagers prowling the night, taking out bad people, being unbeatable . . . that got me through it.

I guess that’s what I tried to do here. I wanted girls who feel powerless to be able to imagine themselves invincible. And yes, I used a rape as the seed for that fierce lineage, not without thought. For me, there is nothing worse, and I like to think great power can rise up as a result of a devastating trespass.

Please know I took none of this lightly. Writing this now, my heart is beating hard and my throat is dry. This is the first time I not only really looked at my own past, the pain of loss, the pain of the loss of trust that comes when someone puts hands on you without permission, the pain of people dying, the shock of suicide, and put all of it to paper in a way that made me feel victorious, strong, and warrior-like. It is also terrifying. I know I’m not the only one who had a scary childhood, and

I know I’m not the only one who clings to stories as salve to smooth over burnt skin. I am so sick of girls and women being hurt. This was my way of taking my own vengeance and trying to access forgiveness.

Thank you for reading and for those of you who can relate, I see you and you are not alone.

Estelle Laure

Related Links:

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Pre-Order the book here!

 

Review: Crave

I have wanted to read Crave by Tracy Wolff since way before it came out. Alexa (Writing the Universe) won an ARC box for this book and absolutely loved this book! She talked so highly about it I wanted to read it ASAP.

Well, you know, life happens! I didn’t get a chance to read it when it came out, but finally, FINALLY, I read this book and OMG I LOVED IT.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

I will admit, I was a die hard Twilight fan back in middle school. It was the book that kicked off my obsession with vampires. After Twilight I read Vampire Academy, Cirque du Freak series, Marked series, Vampire Kisses series, Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, Night World series, Vampire Diaries series – literally anything vampire related, I read it.

So when I picked up this book my inner middle schooler was SCREAMING. I mean I was thrown back in time and feeling all the same feelings as a kid. Especially the way Grace describes Jaxon and her surroundings. It’s very reminiscent of the Twihard era. Then we have Jaxon Vega. Our main love interest who’s mysterious, sassy, and all together swoony who can’t help himself when he’s around Grace. UGH, the teenage hormones in this book were WILD.

I loved the addition of other magical creatures though. This world doesn’t just have vampires – we have dragons, witches, and werewolves together bringing us a magical story that I could not put down. And those are just the creatures we know about. I can only imagine there might be more magic just around the corner and honestly, I need to read Crush like NOW.

Wolff does make fun of the vampire tropes, like instant love and insatiable attraction, and it’s hilarious. I loved the humor throughout this book and I think that’s what made it so much fun to read. I wanted more with every page and those chapter titles: gold.

The beginning is a bit slow and the revelation Grace has comes in pretty far into the book. While I like how it was revealed, part of me wanted it sooner so we could jump into all the magic!

I wasn’t sure what I was going to rate this book, but after the ending, it’s a definite starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars from me! I can’t wait to get sucked into Crush when it releases on September 29th, 2020!!!

Plus, check out this gorgeous cover!

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If this book sounds interesting, check out the books I read/recommend up above! They’ll satiate all your vampire needs!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Bookish This or That

I’ve been feeling myself fall into a slump. I’m having a hard time reading books, writing posts, and doing anything other than sleep. It’s not good.

So when Alexa came through with some blog post ideas I was almost jumping for joy. We love supportive friends! I saw this post she had done on her blog and it looks like fun, so today we’re doing Bookish This or That!

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Audiobook or Textbook

I’m assuming this means physical books but it’s a weird way to put it. Personally, I’ve only listened to one audiobook on a road trip and didn’t even get past disk one. I have nothing against audiobooks, but they are expensive, so I’ve never really given them a fair chance. So, physical books.

Paperback or Hardcover

Hardcover. All the way. It’s so satisfying opening it up and not seeing the spine crack. I find they’re easier to read than paperbacks and pulling off the sleeve to a clean cover, beautiful. Also I just find them more visually satisfying on my shelf than paperbacks. 

Fiction or Non-Fiction

Fiction. Hands down. I’ve never been a fan of reading non-fiction, though I love a good documentary or research film. Reading it is harder for me, I don’t find myself as engaged. And fiction is nice to learn or disengage from reality, you can go either way. 

Harry Potter or Twilight

Neither. I liked Harry Potter and Twilight when I was younger, but both authors are trash, so I can safely say neither series.

Bookshop or Online

Bookstore. When I find myself unsure if I want to get a book, I usually read the first chapter or two. It’s much harder to do that when ordering a book online. The only time I order online is if it’s an author I love or it’s after I’ve read the ARC and I want to support the author. Also, new book smell. It’s so satisfying!

Standalone or Trilogy

I prefer series, but I won’t run away from a standalone. If I read a thriller, mystery, or contemporary I prefer standalone. Fantasy I’ll always prefer a trilogy.

Sweet and Short or Heavy and Long

Usually, I like long and heavy books but it’s good to switch things up and go for the sweet and short. It really depends on how much time I have and my mood.

Hot Chocolate or Coffee

Coffee!!! Hot chocolate is nice once in a while, but I could drink coffee every day, multiple times a day, and still love it. Hot chocolate will just give me a sugar rush and leave me more jittery than coffee. Also, coffee has a multitude of preparations, flavors, and stuff you can do with it. I’m a total coffee addict.

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I tag Belle over at Belle’s Archive to do this tag. Thank you Alexa for recommending this post to me. Tag me if you decide to do this post so I can see your answers!

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Book Blogger Problems

Anyone who blogs knows that there is a lot that goes on behind the screen. Posting often (especially multiple times a day) is exhausting and trying to write original content people wanna see? Even more exhausting. So, heres some of the problems I face as a book blogger.

Time Commitment

When you take up blogging, it can take up a lot of your time. Not that it’s wasted time, it’s not, but if it’s between reading, writing, blogging, sleeping, eating, etc – it can be overwhelming. I find it easier to take a day or two out of the week and write reviews and posts just to make it easier. Usually I’ll do about 3-4 in one sitting because once I’ve committed the time it’s easy to just roll with it!

Translating Ideas to the Page

I have a hard time translating ideas to the page sometimes. I’ll think of a super fun blog post or try to write a review, but I can’t get the emotions or idea from my head to the page. It is so frustrating. I just want things to get on the page, in the exact way I thought it, and people understand what I’m going for. Is that so much to ask for?

Feeling Inadequate

One of the biggest things I struggle with is confidence. Confidence in my writing, my ideas, and in myself. I try to write as true to me as I can, but it’s hard sometimes because I just want to make fun content I like that other people will like. And when I see other people’s blogs with higher follower counts and high engagement, it sometimes cracks my shell. I’ve even questioned, does anyone even cares what I write about? The honest answer is most likely no, but I try to ignore it. In the end, I’m not those other people and I can only write what is true to me – but it’s hard to ignore sometimes.

Being “Original”

I’m well aware that it’s very hard to be “original” as a book blogger. If it’s a tag, it’s most likely been done already. Reviews can all sound the same. And posts you think are gonna be a hit – something no one has ever seen – has been done and it flops. 

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So creating content that doesn’t feel overdone but is still fun and engaging? Really hard! It’s one of my biggest worries honestly. That I’m not only talking to myself, but that my content is so boring and unoriginal, no one cares about it.

I try to mix things up while also having some familiarity to my stuff, but no matter what I do, I’ll probably always worry about this.

What Are Words?

And, the biggest problem of being a book blogger? The actual writing. Especially spoiler free reviews that you just want to go on a full on spoilery rant about but you shouldn’t. Sometimes I sit down to write and it’s like no ones home. I could barely start this post honestly. And don’t get me started on editing! You guys get the cleaned up version of my posts. The hot mess I have to edit and deal with? Agonizing!

Through it all, I love it

Though there are a lot of things that are tough about blogging, I still love it. It gets me excited to read because I have a chance to sit down and write down all my thoughts and sometimes, people listen. I don’t have too many book friends, so getting to gush about stories I love, and rant about the ones I don’t, makes me so happy as a reader. And I love getting to interact with people through my blog and Twitter. I don’t know what I would do, or who I would be, if I didn’t have my blog. So thanks for sticking around with me!

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

 

ARC Review: They Wish They Were Us

They Wish They Were Us by debut author Jessica Goodman is a YA Mystery/Thriller that releases on August 4th, 2020. Be sure to preorder this book and find out what really happened to Shaila Arnold.

This was, once again, a buddy read book that I read with my friend Grace, but this time we also read with our friend Bliss! We read about 50 pages every day, except for the ending which was about 70-80 pages.

And our group chat was going CRAZY talking about this book!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Gossip Girl meets One of Us Is Lying with a dash of The Secret History in this slick, taut murder mystery set against the backdrop of an exclusive prep school on Long Island.

In Gold Coast, Long Island, everything from the expensive downtown shops to the manicured beaches, to the pressed uniforms of Jill Newman and her friends, looks perfect. But as Jill found out three years ago, nothing is as it seems.

Freshman year Jill’s best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila Arnold, was killed by her boyfriend. After that dark night on the beach, Graham confessed, the case was closed, and Jill tried to move on.

Now, it’s Jill’s senior year and she’s determined to make it her best yet. After all, she’s a senior and a Player–a member of Gold Coast Prep’s exclusive, not-so-secret secret society. Senior Players have the best parties, highest grades and the admiration of the entire school. This is going to be Jill’s year. She’s sure of it.

But when Jill starts getting texts proclaiming Graham’s innocence, her dreams of the perfect senior year start to crumble. If Graham didn’t kill Shaila, who did? Jill is vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.

For starters, we talked extensively about who we thought the killer was. It was a lot of back and forth, but in the end, we guessed correctly – we just didn’t guess HOW it ended. This was a rollercoaster of a book as we’re lead with Jill through all the possibilities and all the obstacles in finding out what really happened to her best friend.

Besides the mystery, we also talked a lot about Jill’s perception of Shaila and her friends in general. Mostly because they don’t seem to act like friends. Maybe it’s the Gossip Girl like situation, where everyone wants to act mature for their age and show that they don’t care, but it just came across really fake. Especially when Jill would remember moments with Shaila or interacts with Nikki. They just seem nasty with each other and overall rude at times.

It was a bit weird.

But besides this weird dynamic, I was more invested in the mystery overall. I wanted to know who did it and why – because it really didn’t seem like Graham was the killer, even during the flashbacks Jill was having.

I thought the build up to the reveal was awesome and it had me on edge, waiting to see what would happen. It was also really interesting getting to hear about this “secret society” they were initiated into called the Players – it was like a sorority and fraternity mixed together, but high school.

Overall, I liked the story and the ride in general, but the friendship dynamics were really weird. Jill’s relationship with Shaila, and even with Nikki, don’t seem genuine at times and it was at times uncomfortable. They claimed to be best friends but then pitted themselves against each other. Overall, I think this was a starstarstar.5 // 5 stars for me.

If you like murder mysteries and/or Gossip Girl, you will definitely like this book. I thought it was set up well and the ending was really intense!

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If this book sounds interesting, be sure to check out All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

Writing Update #3

This is a sad update because honestly, I haven’t written in weeks. I was on such a roll with writing and then *poof* my motivation disappeared and now I have a half finished manuscript sitting on my computer, judging me.

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This will be a short update because there hasn’t been a lot going on. Honestly, I just need to finish the dang thing so I can start editing. I like editing more than drafting personally it seems (I say until I start the editing process) so if I can just cram out this book, then maybe it will actually turn into a publishable manuscript. Maybe.

So far, my manuscript is currently at 52,516 words (a 27,495 word increase) or 162 pages (up from 76 pages). I’m definitely nearing the climax of this book as we build up to the scene revealed in the prologue and I think because I’m nearing the end of this first draft, I don’t wanna write it. I would guess there’s about maybe 20,000 or so more words to finish this book and then with LOTS of editing, I can get it up to 80-90k. I don’t want my story to be too long, especially for a first draft/first book, but there’s so much that happens I can’t make it too short either.

UGHH THE STRUGGLES.

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So yeah, I’m currently stuck in a cycle of “I can’t write, but I need to finish this book and it’s stressing me, but I can’t write because I’m stressed” – we love writing.

Hopefully I can get out of this rut, finish this book, and start editing! I want to have this manuscript finished and polished by the end of summer so I can start querying. We’ll see if that actually ever happens.

Wish me luck!

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: Aurora Burning

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is the second book in the Aurora Cycle series. If you have not read the first book, Aurora Rising, feel free to check out my spoiler free review here! While this post will be spoiler free, I cannot guarantee that it will not spoil the first book, so if you have not read it yet, thanks for checking out this post and hopefully I’ll see you again once you’ve finished Aurora Rising!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Our heroes are back… kind of. From the bestselling co-authors of the Illuminae Files comes the second book in the epic series about a squad of misfits, losers, and discipline cases who just might be the galaxy’s best hope for survival.

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

So I had seen some … adverse reactions to this book. And I’ll be honest, I was nervous. After finishing Aurora Rising, and crying for hours afterwards, I knew Jay and Amie were out to get us.

The beginning of this book was sad. Everyone was still sad and sore about Cat’s death (honestly, me too) and we’ve now unlocked a piece of the puzzle. Seeing everyone go through their mourning for Cat, as well as continuing to fight to help Auri save the world, is hard. Especially for Tyler.

While the beginning started off slow (for like a few pages lol), we quickly jump back into action and into galaxy saving mode. This whole book was an action filled revelation waiting to happen and the last 150 pages had me locked in.

And the ending. Well, I think I summarized my feelings on the ending with this tweet. Also Jay’s reaction was pretty funny!

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Yeah, I was pretty upset. Not sure why Amie and Jay decided to end the book this way, but it ripped my heart out and I’m mad! If you know their writing style, you’ll know what kind of ending I’m talking about.

One of the things I loved the most about this book were the characters. Tyler, while always the golden boy, breaks out of his strict mold. Zila speaks up more and I love it. We see a change in every character throughout this book and I’m here for it. And after that ending, I’m really curious to know what happens to them now.

One thing that annoyed me though was a certain moment in the book. I won’t go into detail, but this revelation came about and I don’t know how I felt about the reaction to it. Like, it didn’t seem fully fair and I think some biases came into play here. It made me really upset and this character did not deserve it one bit.

Besides that, I love this series. I’m really upset I don’t have the next book in my hands ready to go. I really want to know what happens next!

If you’re surprised that I’m giving this book starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars – why? I loved Aurora Rising and I loved Aurora Burning – each for their own unique reasons. I can’t wait for the next book to come out and hopefully we don’t have to wait too long!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Series) by Marissa Meyer or Zodiac by Romina Russell. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Deck of Omens

I loved The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman. I remember how hyped everyone was for this book. The ARC trading world was going nuts trying to get a copy, blogs were posting 5 star reviews, and generally everyone was really excited for this book! But once The Deck of Omens was announced, I didn’t see that kind of energy and it was really sad. I was surprised people weren’t cutting off limbs to read this book early and I was seeing no press or reviews floating around.

Y’all are missing out! This was such an amazing sequel and I’m mad no one is talking about it more! People, get your bullhorns out and start shouting about this series because it’s so good!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The teenagers of Four Paths must save their home.

Though the Beast is seemingly subdued for now, a new threat looms in Four Paths: a corruption seeping from the Gray into the forest. And with the other Founders preoccupied by their tangled alliances and fraying relationships, only May Hawthorne seems to realize the danger. But saving the town she loves means seeking aid from the person her family despises most–her and Justin’s father.

May’s father isn’t the only newcomer in town–Isaac Sullivan’s older brother has also returned, seeking forgiveness for the role he played in Isaac’s troubled past. But Isaac isn’t ready to let go of his family’s history, especially when that history might hold the key that he and Violet Saunders need to destroy the Gray and the monster within it.

Harper Carlisle isn’t ready to forgive, either. Two devastating betrayals have left her isolated from her family and uncertain who to trust. As the corruption becomes impossible to ignore, Harper must learn to control her newfound powers in order to protect Four Paths. But the only people who can help her do that are the ones who have hurt her the most.

With the veil between the Gray and the town growing ever thinner, all of the Founder descendants must put their grievances with one another aside to stop the corruption and kill the Beast once and for all.

But maybe the monster they truly need to slay has never been the Beast…

We leave off The Devouring Gray with a team of kids who all need a hug. The Beast is subdued and the Gray is quiet, but there are still a LOT of things that need to be discussed. Soon, we find ourselves in some trouble as The Gray is overcome with corruption which is leaking out and attacking the occupants of Four Paths.

While The Devouring Gray was more plot driven, this book is WAY more character driven and I LOVED IT. Often times I wish for more character development in stories either because so much is going on in the plot that we aren’t shown their changes or the changes never occur – but this book is the opposite. So much character development happened in The Devouring Gray and is now seeping into The Deck of Omens. We see characters self reflect, have ground breaking realizations and acceptance, and the relationships *chef’s kiss* perfection.

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Not to say that the plot isn’t a big factor or good, because it is. I mean, it’s Four Paths guys, everything is pretty messed up there. The beginning was a reintroduction to the town and to our characters, then we are quickly moved along to our problem and our potential solution. With the introduction of new characters, like Justin and May’s father and Issac’s brother Gabriel, we get some additional background on our characters, but an increased tension through the group.

It was the perfect storm.

All in all, I love this series and I think it’s so spooky and disturbing that you can’t help but read more to find out what terrifying thing happens next. This gets a starstarstarstar.5 // 5 stars for me. I can’t wait to read more from Christine, hopefully I can get my hands on another one of her books soon!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan, Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, or Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

 

July 2020 TBR

June was a good reading month for me! Although I didn’t necessarily follow my intended TBR. I’ve put Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare on my TBR for the past three months and it just hasn’t happened. I find myself getting approved or buddy reading other books, so it will have to wait for now.

I only ended up reading half of the books I wanted to read and one of those books ended up on this months TBR. I totally ignored Touch of Gold and Curse of Gold by Annie Sullivan, which I shouldn’t do. I do need to read those soon. Maybe I’ll try to fit at least Touch of Gold into this month’s TBR so I can read Curse of Gold before release.

Here’s my TBR for July 2020:

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Most of these are books I received for review or I need to read in order to review other books. A Wicked Magic is for a book tour, They Wish They Were Us is a buddy read, Warmaidens, Ignite the Sun, and Hush are all NetGalley reviews I need to read. I hope I can get through all of these and stick to my TBR but we’ll see. I tend to abandon my TBR apparently.

But, I still want to continue my reading streak and get all of these books (and then some) read before the end of July!

What are some books on your TBR? Any you’ve been putting off and want to get to?

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Unboxing: Fairyloot May 2020

Since Fairyloot had delayed shipping on their boxes for the past few months, I wanted to wait a couple weeks from when I received mine to do an unboxing. But now that it’s here, I’m so excited to show off the May 2020 Fairyloot box!

***I am not affiliated with Fairyloot and purchased this box for my own personal use. The opinions expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone.

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Company: Fairyloot

Origin: United Kingdom

Price: $33.90 (USD) + $7.99 (US Shipping)

Month: May, 2020

Theme: Desert Dreams

 

This months theme was Desert Dreams and as described from their Instagram post:

“This month, we’re getting swept away in lands filled with fairy tales, magic and djinn! Put the kettle on and brew yourself a sweet mint tea to prepare for a dreamy adventure, from palaces to sand dunes to magic oasis’! We’ve never done a theme quite like this in the past, and we are so excited for the goodies and the book in this box.”

I was so excited to receive this box because I knew exactly what the book was!

Without further ado, the Desert Dreams box from Fairyloot!

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For this months box we received

  • A copy of Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust with an exclusive cover, sprayed edges, artwork on the reverse of the dust jacked, and it’s signed!
  • A bookish tin inspired by We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (my boyfriend already stole it for his tea)
  • A bookish wooden spoon
  • A tea towel inspired by City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
  • Desert bath salts by Little Heart Gifts
  • Tribal desert candle inspired by An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Sunglass pouch inspired by The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury and designed by @kitstercronk
  • And our two tarot cards, the Three and Four of Cups inspired by Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and designed by @gabriella. bujdoso

Spoiler Card below:

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My thoughts:

Honestly, I really like this box! My boyfriend and I have already used some of these items, like the tin and the bath salts, for ourselves. I’m not sure what I would use the tea towel for, other than decoration, so that’s kind of a wasted item for me – BUT, I am super happy about the sunglass pouch!

I think the wooden spoon is cute, but it’s so cute that I don’t even want to use it. So it’s sitting in my kitchen as a decoration. The candle smells amazing, but a bit strong, so that might just serve as a decoration too. They’re all just so cute and perfect! I don’t want to even use them lol

As for the book, I knew what it was going to be since I had already read it, but I still love the edition regardless! I think the pink looks so cute and the artwork under the dust jacket is AMAZING. Plus, sprayed edges are just so gorgeous. I’m geeking out! Feel free to check out my spoiler free review of Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust if you haven’t had a chance yet.

July’s theme is Resilient Royals!

From the Fairyloot website:

“Prepare your crown, and don’t forget to sharpen your sword − you might need it! This month is all about royals that always hold their ground and are willing to do whatever it takes to protect their kingdom and the ones that they love.

You can expect items inspired by Crescent CityThe Lunar ChroniclesAsh PrincessThe Queen’s RisingWoven in Moonlight and The Bear and the Nightingale. We are thrilled to announce that this box will include a hand poured candle by @inthewickoftime, a beautiful cushion cover plus many other goodies that we have never featured in a previous box!

Our featured book of the month is an epic story of a kingdom ravaged by war, and a princess that may be the key to saving it. Something about this book gave us classic fantasy vibes − you can expect magic, resilient royals and romance! This FairyLoot edition will have an EXCLUSIVE COVER, SPRAYED EDGES and will be SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR.”

I unfortunately have to skip this box because, well, money, but I know EXACTLY what the book is and I’m so excited! Part of me is really upset I have to miss out on this box, but I also can’t afford to drop $150+ on book boxes this month, much less the $100 I budgeted for July.

Regardless, I’m still excited to see everyone’s beautiful pictures and hope everyone enjoys their box!

Spots for subscribers is currently SOLD OUT, but feel free to join their US waitlist here! They will contact you once a space has opened for you to subscriber!

Useful links:

Fairyloot UK

Fairyloot US

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

Fairyloot Club Facebook

Fairyloot B/S/T Group

 

 

 

 

Villains I love and love to hate

The best stories have a good plot, diverse characters, and a villain you can’t help but love. The more interesting a villain, the more I enjoy a book, and sometimes it’s hard to get that perfect balance of evil and likable. So, here’s a list of some of my favorite villains!

A Villain I LOVE

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The Darkling is such a charming, charismatic person you can’t help but love him. Every interaction Alina had with him had me anxiously waiting to see what happened next. He believed in his mission, he loved Alina, and he wanted to change the world. Those conditions and attributes combined created a villain I loved. I didn’t want to hate him, and I sort of understood his intentions, but we all knew they were skewed.

 

A Villain I love to HATE

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Maeve as a villain is someone I love to hate. She’s evil, vindictive, and had a lot of motivation for her actions. I still hated her though. By the end, I could see how she wasn’t the true villain of the story, but her actions in the series allowed for our true villain to appear. Man I hated that guy lol

 

 

A Villain I hate to LOVE

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Corien, who we get to learn more about in Kingsbane, is such an evil guy. And when I mean evil, I mean evil. But also such a good antagonist. I mean everything he does makes me want to smack him on the head and then we get to the kissy kissy scenes and I’m swooning. Damn him!

 

 

A (kinda) Villain I LOVE

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The premise of this book is that there are no heroes or villains. We just have anti-heroes really and that means I can love all my boys the same! Victor, our protagonist (I guess you could call him) doesn’t want to be a hero – he wants revenge. And Eli? Well, he wants to be seen as a hero, but I guess murder isn’t a good way of going about that as he eradicates everyone with a super ability. This pair of equally grey characters is such a fun read.

 

And a Villain I just HATE

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OOOOHHH LET ME TELL YOU. I hate Marcus, I hate the Commandant, and I HATE the Nightbringer. Oh my gosh I hate these characters with a passion. And it’s not even because they’re bad characters/villains, it’s because they’re so EVIL that I just want them out of the way so my cinnamon roll Elias and my baby Laia can FINALLY BE HAPPY. GOSH I GET SO UPSET.

 

I find myself loving books with morally grey villains, or at least charming villains, because they make things so much more interesting. Like how can I even be mad when your messed up plan actually makes sense? How can I hate you when you’re so lovable and charming?! It can be so frustrating.

What are some villains you love and love to hate? Let me know in the comments!

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Greythorne

I received a copy of Greythorne by Crystal Smith from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had a physical ARC of Greythorne that I received at YallFEST 2019. I got it during a mystery ARC drop where there were only 25 copies and they handed out this title. I had not read Bloodleaf but I heard great things about the first book, so I was excited! I requested a copy through NetGalley because digital takes up way less space, but I find myself loving the series too much to part with my physical copies. Regardless, here are my thoughts.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Princess Aurelia’s life is turned upside down when the kingdom she thought she saved turns to ruin, a loved one is tragically killed in a shipwreck, and her home country refuses to respect her brother’s legitimate claim to the throne. With no place left to call her own, Aurelia returns to Greythorne Manor—her best friend’s family mansion—only to get swept up in a coup d’état on the night of her brother’s coronation.

With everyone turned against her and enemies closing in on all sides, Aurelia has nothing left to lose in a mad fight to protect the only people she has left—her family. But in her darkest moments when all seems grim, will Aurelia find a spark of hope from a love she thought long lost?

After finishing Bloodleaf I wasn’t sure where the story was heading. The plot was finished right? WRONG. Clearly, there is much more to the story. Jumping into Greythorne I found myself really confused. We start a few months after the end of Bloodleaf and Zan is dead!? I was so confused and thought that the ending of Bloodleaf had changed between the ARC and the finished copy – but I just had to be patient.

I am not patient. I really wanted to find out what was going on and when I did, I was not happy. Crystal – why do you have to mess with us like this!?

The trend of middle book syndrome concerned me. I thought Greythorne was not going to be as good as Bloodleaf because we’re in the middle of a story right? WRONG AGAIN. It was so much better! My only fear now is what’s going to happen in Ebonwilde! But, I’ll have to wait another 18 or so months to find out! (cue the endless sobbing)

So I loved this book and the series overall – and we’re adding it to the list of “books I regret not reading sooner”. I should make a Goodreads shelf for them one day!

I thought the plot was so good, all the puzzle pieces were coming together in a way that the only word I can think of is, relieving. Like you see everything building up and then finally, you understand what is happening and it’s almost a relief. Okay maybe relief isn’t the best word, but it’s the only one I can think of.

And I’m not going to get into character development because it was superb. Not just from book 1 to 2, but through book 2 our characters change and grow and I loved it.

It was also nice to get to spend time with characters from book 1 we didn’t get to see much. Overall, I really like this book and this series. It’s new and different and fun and yeah – I’m rambling. Let’s wrap this up. starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars from me.

Greythorne releases on September 1st, so be sure to preorder your copy today!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, be sure to check out Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

 

ARC Review: Bloodleaf

I had an ARC of Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith sitting in my house since November/December 2018. Two of my friends went to YallFEST 2018 and while I wanted to go, I couldn’t. They asked if there was anything they could pick up and I said, yes – Bloodleaf! They were so sweet and managed to grab me a couple other titles as well as Bloodleaf – but I never read it. Until now.

Flash forward to YallFEST 2019 and I find myself in line for a “mystery” ARC drop that only had 25 copies. Some speculated what it might be, but we were all shocked when they handed us Greythorne. Then, I also managed to receive an eARC through NetGalley and finally, I realized I needed to read this book.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Aurelia is a princess, but they call her a witch.

Surrounded by spirits and burdened with forbidden magic, she lives in constant fear of discovery by the witch-hunting Tribunal and their bloodthirsty mobs. When a devastating assassination attempt reveals her magical abilities, Aurelia is forced to flee her country with nothing but her life.

Alone and adrift in an enemy kingdom, Aurelia plans her revenge against the Tribunal, desperate to bring down the dark organization that has wrought terror upon her people for hundreds of years. But there’s something deeply amiss in her new home, too, and soon she finds herself swept into a deadly new mystery with a secretive prince, the ghost of an ancient queen, and a poison vine called Bloodleaf.

Aurelia is entangled in a centuries-long game of love, power, and war, and if she can’t break free before the Tribunal makes its last move, she may lose far more than her crown.

I’m going to have to make a category or a list of all the books I say, “I wish I read this sooner” because there are a lot now, and this is one of them.

Why did no one tell me this book was so good? Why did no one mention how amazing this book was and let me go a year and a half without reading it!? I was gonna trade away my copy because I thought I wasn’t going to read/like it. Who let this happen!?

Okay, so it’s my fault for not listening to my friends when they told me how amazing this book is. And I regret not listening to them. This was such a fun read, also really intense, but I really enjoyed myself! I liked a lot of things about this book including the magic system, the history, and our group of characters.

Sure, Aurelia/Emilie does give off the “I’m doing this for the greater good, it’s best no one knows” ideology even though I want to smack her for it. But her character was also fun to read about as she explored her magic and the actions of her predecessors that brought herself and everyone around her into this situation.

And what a sticky situation we have here folks.

The characters can not catch a break, at all. There were several moments I gasped, shed a tear, or even full on cried. It’s like I forget how powerful YA books can be when they play with your emotions.

Especially that ending. Was not emotionally prepped for everything that happened and everything I KNOW is gonna have to happen for two more books to appear. I’m worried but also excited.

I really liked this book and I’m really excited to read my copy of Greythorne now, so this is going to be added to my starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars list.

Let me know if you’ve read Bloodleaf and whether or not you’re ready for Greythorne because I am NOT.

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson or Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

NetGalley & Edelweiss Update: June 2020

NetGalley and Edelweiss are messing with me. Not only has it been dead for my pending requests (very little activity) but any activity I get is mostly declines. It’s not nice!!

But, it’s been a while since I did an update like this so . . . here’s my NetGalley and Edelweiss accounts at the moment.

NetGalley #1

So far, I’ve been approved for these titles:

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Declined for these titles:

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And currently waiting on these titles:

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Yeah, I’m in trouble.

NetGalley #2

I’ve been approved for these titles:

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Denied for these titles:

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And currently pending for these titles:

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Edelweiss

Edelweiss hates me. Like seriously hates me. On average I have a 6% chance of getting approved for a book I requested on Edelweiss, which is actually really sad.

Here are the two I’ve been approved for in the two or so months I’ve had an account. This is excluding The Boundless which I received through Edelweiss from a book tour. Ironically, I was denied the title a week before finding out I would receive it through Edelweiss for the tour. Super ironic.

So far, I’ve been approved for these titles:

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Declined for these titles:

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Yeah, I’m crying too . . .

And currently pending on these titles:

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Will I actually receive any of these? Probably not . . . but a girl can dream!

Well, this is my current update for my NetGalley and Edelweiss accounts! I’m so screwed for NetGalley – 15+ pending requests. I’m an idiot. But, it seems that I’m in limbo, so who knows if/when I’ll ever get approved for these titles? Cause I sure don’t.

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Gravemaidens

I finally read Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon and I am so excited to read the next book, Warmaidens!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

I managed to grab an ARC of Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon during ALA 2019. It was one of those books that I put off reading because another, newer title was grabbing my attention. I managed to get an eARC of Warmaidens, so I thought now was probably the best time to start reading!

I thought this was an interesting book. Not sure how this is a fantasy as it doesn’t delve past basic herbology, but I’m hoping the fantasy elements come into play in the next book. I enjoyed Kammani’s passion for healing and her desire to save her sister. I felt so bad for her family with everything that they went through – anyone would be bitter after all of that.

I liked the plot, but I wanted more fantasy. This book didn’t feel like a fantasy novel to me, though I still like it, I just don’t understand where the fantasy element comes into play?

Besides that, it was a fun ride. The last 150 pages had my head spinning. I didn’t want to put the book down and miss anything that was going to happen next.

This was a really interesting book and I liked Kammani’s story a lot. This was a starstarstarstar // 5 stars. I’m really excited to see where this story is heading in book two, and thanks to NetGalley, I will get to read the sequel shortly!

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If this book sounds interesting, be sure to check out Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

The Theft of Sunlight Cover Reveal!

I am so excited for Intisar Khanani’s newest book, The Theft of Sunlight! I loved her novel Thorn, and The Theft of Sunlight is the first in a companion duology for the Dauntless Path’s world! EEEP!!

Cover Reveal

Here is a synopsis from Goodreads:

I did not choose this fate. But I will not walk away if I can make a difference.

Children have been disappearing from Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her best friend’s sister disappears, Rae knows she can’t stay silent any longer. She finds the chance to make a difference in an invitation to the palace.

But Rae struggles to fit in with the lords and ladies of the court. Instead, she finds unexpected help in a rough-around-the-edges thief named Bren who always seems to have her best interests at heart. Soon even Bren can’t help her, and Rae must risk her life and well-being to face an evil that lurks in the shadows of the darkest hearts.

Without further ado . . .  here is the cover for The Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani!

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Isn’t this cover gorgeous!? This cover was designed by Jenny Zemanek and I absolutely love it! I’m so excited for the next book in the Dauntless Path’s world!

This book releases on March 23rd, 2021 so be sure to mark your calendars and preorder a copy today!

Intisar is also doing an amazing giveaway to celebrate her new book which you can find on her website. If you haven’t read Thorn yet, here is a link to the Goodreads page, as well as where you can order Thorn today!

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Author Information

Intisar Khanani Author Photo 2018 CM closeup Low Res

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Prior to publishing her novels, Intisar worked as a public health consultant on projects relating to infant mortality and minority health, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.

Intisar’s current projects include the re-release of her debut, Thorn, from HarperTeen (2020) and her indie epic fantasy series, The Sunbolt Chronicles.

To find out about new releases, giveaways, and so forth, subscribe to Intisar’s monthly author newsletter.

Here are some links to Intisar’s personal pages!

Website

Goodreads

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

 

 

ARC Review: Raybearer

This was another book I received from YallFEST 2019 and buddy read with my friend Grace. We’ve been buddy reading a lot lately!

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko releases on August 18th, 2020 – so be sure to preorder a copy!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The epic debut YA fantasy from an incredible new talent—perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir

Nothing is more important than loyalty.
But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself? With extraordinary world-building and breathtaking prose, Raybearer is the story of loyalty, fate, and the lengths we’re willing to go for the ones we love.

The beginning was like a fairytale. I think that’s what got me really interested in this story. We see Tarisai’s introduction to life and her childhood the same way a story teller would weave the images for you, speaking so rhythmically and songlike, you’re entranced. As we move into the story line, I found myself liking the story even more. I wasn’t sure what path this was going to go on, but the surprises it has in store will definitely shock you.

I really liked this book and thought this was well written except for the ending. The ending kinda confused me. On Goodreads, it says this is a standalone. But the author, and other people who have asked the author, say that there is a sequel. We end like there is supposed to be a sequel – and I hope there is one! – but if it’s supposed to be a standalone, then I think the ending needs to be wrapped up better. We have so many loose ends not tied up that need to be in order for this story to properly finish. I want there to be a sequel, but since I don’t see one announced, I have to look at it as a standalone.

So, the ending was kinda confusing and a bit disappointing because of that. We leave off in such a way that there is a call to action when we should be getting closure. And it made me want more to the ending.

Besides the ending, I thought the plot was concise and well written, the characters are definitely interesting people, the challenges our MC go through are not easy – a perfect set up for a good book. Tarisai goes through some pretty serious stuff throughout this book and by the end, I feel really bad for her. There were moments that I wanted to give her a hug because she could really use it.

Raybearer has faeries, fantastic journeys, lifelong friendships, and a found family mixed with African folklore to make an epic fantasy debut.

This was such a great book and I have to give it starstarstarstar // 5 stars. Please be sure to preorder a copy for yourself through any major retailer – Amazon, B&N, or any other place you buys books.

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi or A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Diverse Reads Recommendations

I have been seeing a lot of posts promoting books by POC authors due to the BLM movement and #PublishingPaidMe (which is AWESOME). There are a lot of new books I’ve added to my list that I am so excited to get my hands on and read! But there was also a lot of books that I didn’t see mentioned that I think people would be interested in too.

So, here is a thread of diverse books I have read and LOVE and some books that I can’t wait to read! Some are not released yet, so be sure to order/preorder a copy and help support our book community!

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There are so many books that I loved and so many that I can’t wait to read. I’m sure I missed a LOT of books, so please suggest some titles I should add in the comments below! I’m a sucker for fantasy and science fiction, but would also love some thriller and historical fiction recommendations too!

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

ARC Review: Unravel the Dusk

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim is the sequel to Spin the Dawn, which releases on July 7th, 2020. I managed to get an ARC of this book and I was so excited! I read Spin the Dawn last year and ADORED IT. I have never read a story like this before and it was one of my first reviews on this blog. It’s crazy to think that a whole year has gone by. If you have not read Spin the Dawn, feel free to check out my spoiler free review here. This review is spoiler free, but may spoil events in the first book.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The thrilling sequel to SPIN THE DAWN, a magical series steeped in Chinese culture.

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of UNRAVEL THE DUSK.

We pick up right where we left off in Spin the Dawn and are immediately thrown back into Maia and Edan’s mess. And what a mess there is.

Honestly, I adore this series. I’m so sad that it’s only a duology and not a trilogy (I swear I thought it was a trilogy) but I will take what I can get in this series! I love the world, the storyline, the characters. Everything about this book is fun and yet also awful – I hate seeing characters turn into literal monsters.

I didn’t find myself disliking anything in the book overall. I think the only comment I would have though is that I wanted more EDAN!! He was so present in Spin the Dawn and his interactions with Maia made me so happy. I wanted to see more of him in Unravel the Dusk. I also wanted to see a different kind of ending. I won’t go into details, and I thought the ending was beautiful, but it felt … easy? I guess that’s the word I’m gonna go with. I just wanted to see a different kind of ending and I’m curious what kind of outcome a different ending would bring. Besides that, I thought this was a great wrap up of the series.

We see Maia’s internal struggle, external struggle, her actions are presenting clear consequences and obstacles for her to overcome, and we get to see different sides to familiar characters. What more can you ask for in a story? Oh yeah – awesome dialogue/character interactions – which this book definitely has!

If I hadn’t been moving these past few days, I would have finished the book ages ago, but I’m glad I got to finish the book in my new apartment. First book finished in my new home! (woo!)

There were multiple points in the book that I was tearing up or about to cry – they were so beautiful. And some parts really painful. As Maia undergoes these changes in herself she fights a literal demon inside of her, but I think anyone can relate to fighting against the voice in their head. Whether the author intended it or not, it had great symbolism to mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, and seeing Maia struggle to feel like herself and keep her head above water was beautifully written.

So, I love this series! And I really liked this book. There were certain things that I thought could be changed or a bit “easy”, but I won’t go into anymore details than that! This was a great ending to the series and I think everyone should read this beautifully written story. starstarstarstar.5 // 5 stars from me.

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If this book sounds interesting, check out Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

June 2020 Mid-Month Update

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So far, I’m pretty happy with how much I’ve read this month! Some of these books I started at the end of May and finished in the beginning of June, but I’m counting them! My goal is to read eight books this month and so far, I’ve done really well and I’ll definitely going to meet that goal. Let’s just hope I continue reading such amazing stories for the rest of this month.

What I read

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What I’m reading

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What I plan to read

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I’m surprised I am able to read so much this month. Before moving in I thought I would have no time to read and would be lucky to get through 2 books a week. But it looks like I’m getting through a book about every other day or so, which is awesome! I hope to continue to have as much reading time going forward and hopefully, you’ll be seeing reviews of these books soon!

What books are you currently reading? Are you close to your goal for this month?

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: Tunnel of Bones

I love Victoria/V.E. Schwab’s books – including her middle grade series, The Cassidy Blake series. The first book, City of Ghosts, was so good! I read the ARC that I received at BookCon 2018 and fell in love.

Some people have a weird thing about not reading younger books, as if they’re not as good or as sophisticated, but that’s simply not true. I think middle grade books are important and should be read! They can be silly and “childish” (since they’re FOR CHILDREN) but that doesn’t mean they don’t talk about important issues. Same thing with YA. Just because it’s marketed for young people doesn’t mean that it’s not a good story to read – and I think this series is awesome!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab is the second book in the Cassidy Blake series and it takes place in Paris, France. If you haven’t read City of Ghosts, Cassidy Blake #1, here is the link to my review! My opinions have changed a lot since that post, especially about middle grades, so take that part with a grain of salt.

This book is so good. I read it in one sitting and I can say, this is a keeper. I can see myself passing this along to my kids to read along with Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Cassidy is such a fun character to hang out with, and her best friend Jacob is awesome too! (He’s making me write this)

We get to explore the haunted parts of Paris and learn about a new kind of ghost, a poltergeist. Jacob, our handy dandy ghost friend, isn’t doing so well either and Cassidy is scared he’s going to become just like our new found poltergeist friend. Their friendship is really cute and it touches on important moments for young friends, like gathering up the trust to tell an important secret or a bad memory.

As a kid, I would have loved to read about a series that lets me travel the world and go ghost hunting! I read so many ghost stories, especially in middle school, including Meg Cabot’s The Mediator series. You have no idea how much I wanted to be able to see and talk to ghosts (and maybe even fall in love with one?) because of these stories.

While Victoria’s series isn’t as romantic, and definitely more scary, they’re a fun adventure that any kid can follow. If they ever get an opportunity to travel the world there are sights to be seen from this book. And if not, it’s like you’ve already been there.

Overall, I think this book is so good and so cute. I worry for Jacob and I’m curious to see how his character changes in the next book. I’m not sure how many books are in this series, but I hope it continues cause I love this.

For my rating, I have to give it starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars for top scares, excellent scenery, and fun moments between friends. If you, or your child, is looking for a good middle grade ghost story – check out the Cassidy Blake series!

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If this book sounds interesting, be sure to check out Percy Jackson and the Olympian’s, The Lightening Thief, by Rick Riordan OR The Mediator series, Shadowland by Meg Cabot.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

My Top Five Favorite Standalones

I am a sucker for a good series. Whether it’s two books or ten books, if I can get more out of a story and stay in a world I love, I’m happy.

But all too often, I see people suggest series over and over again and I realized we don’t give standalones nearly enough love! So, I’m going to change that. Here are my top five, favorite standalone novels you can pick up and read RIGHT NOW!

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

40367270 First off, if you haven’t read Astrid Scholte’s books, you should. She is an amazing writer! I read Four Dead Queens when it was first released as an exclusive ARC from Penguin Teen at BookCon 2018. And let me tell you – *chef’s kiss* – perfection. We have a great YA fantasy/science fiction novel here filled with murder, mayhem, and romance?

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.

An enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queens heralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent.

The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte

46222824 You didn’t think I would list Four Dead Queens and not The Vanishing Deep did you? Astrid has a knack for writing amazing standalone novels that you want to be turned into series. I’m still crying over both of these books! This is a great science fiction/fantasy novel about sisterly love and the real difficulties over losing a loved one.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Tempe was born into a world of water. When the Great Waves destroyed her planet, its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called. Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn’t food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister’s life. For a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the dearly departed for twenty-four hours before returning them to death. It isn’t a heartfelt reunion that Tempe is after; she wants answers. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why.

But once revived, Elysea has other plans. She doesn’t want to spend her last day in a cold room accounting for a crime she insists she didn’t commit. Elysea wants her freedom and one final glimpse at the life that was stolen from her. She persuades Tempe to break her out of the facility, and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents’ death and mend their broken bond. But they’re pursued every step of the way by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea’s time is up–and before the secret behind the revival process and the true cost of restored life is revealed.

Thorn by Intisar Khanani

36443368. sy475  This is a Goose Girl retelling, and I recently posted by review about this book. If you read it, you would know that I adore this story! It’s fantastical, enticing, and it has lots of magic. The main character doesn’t want to be a princess and is genuinely excited when her life is switched with one of her traveling lady’s by a sorceress so that she can live a simple life as a Goose Girl. Except that same sorceress wants to kill her betrothed, the Prince. It’s filled with beautiful moments and it brings to light some serious issues.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

45872054. sy475  If you read my review of this book, you would know I am a musician. I played lots of Mozart and getting to read more about his sister (I didn’t even know he had a sister) was fun. So often we get Wolfgang’s life story and his views, while no one talks about his sister who was just as creative and talented. Not fair. This is mixed with the magic of a secret kingdom and a lost prince, Hyacinth, who wants to bring magic back to his kingdom. It’s definitely not a high fantasy as it switches between historical fiction and urban? fantasy – not 100% sure how to classify this, but it’s not high fantasy. So if you like magical realism and historical fiction, welcome to your next favorite book!

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish: to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in eighteenth-century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

As Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

43263520. sy475 This book destroyed me. I was not expecting to be so deeply affected by this story, but I was. This is a dystopian novel centered around the idea that girls are magical. Women are born with magic and as they go into puberty, the magic becomes stronger. Every year, at 16, the girls are sent off into the wilderness to burn all the magic in their bodies and it is heartbreaking. We cover misogyny, assault, bullying, and so many topics that affect everyone. I cried at the end for many reasons. This is a more serious book, so these topics are not to be taken lightly – but I think everyone should read this. It’s deep.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

I have so many more suggestions, so if you like this post, please be sure to like it and leave me a comment! If this does well, I might do another post with a variety of genres.

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ARC Review: Divine Blood

I received a copy of Divine Blood by Beck Michaels in exchange for an honest review. This book releases today, so be sure to purchase a copy from Amazon, or wherever you get your books from 🙂

My friend Alexa, whom I’m sure you all know by know over at Writing the Universe, read and loved this book! She told me everything she loved and how she couldn’t wait for me to read it! Unfortunately, I wasn’t as much of a fan as she was.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The Shadow demon nearly took everything from Dyna, and it would soon return for more. When she discovers a way to fight back, she must go on a perilous journey and risk it all for those she holds dear.

Along the way, she meets Cassiel, a Celestial Prince with magic blood and wings as black as his heart. He wants nothing to do with Dyna until he learns she could lead him to a place he has been searching for all his life.

But reaching their destination is not as easy as they thought, nor are they the only ones who search for it. With danger at every turn and harrowing secrets between them, the quest will require much more than determination. They must fight for what they desire—or die trying.

For fans of Throne of Glass and Lord of the Rings comes a new debut series with remarkable characters, a budding romance, and gripping action. Divine Blood is the first book of an enchanting dark fantasy that explores the depths of loss, acceptance and the true meaning of courage.

The prologue/first chapter sucked me into this book. I was ready and excited for an incredible journey to save her village! But as we creep further into the book, the pace drops and I felt like it was dragging. I wanted a steady build up into pure action, but as we moved along, I didn’t feel a steady progression.

I don’t mind slow build ups, as long as there is something to fill that void, like side journeys and character build up. We get a lot of side journey’s as our characters work to get what they need, but it was the character moments that I struggled a bit to get through.

I think my biggest issues were the characters, overall. Their personalities seemed to change between POV. Dyna, for starters, comes across as a sure, confident girl who is ready to protect and defend her home. But then in Zev’s eyes she’s a weak toddler who can’t even walk by herself without getting into trouble. And then Cassiels’ POV, she’s clumsy, baby-ish, and yet enchanting.

It’s like I’m reading about three different people. Now, I’ll admit, the way a person perceives themselves is different from how others see them, so I get that difference. But even between the two men, it’s two different people.

I think that disconnect made it more difficult for me to enjoy the story. I found myself liking the action scenes and the plot, but the slower moments between characters was a bit harder to get through. But I stuck it out, and I thought the remaining 40% of the book was amazing! It was action filled, the plot progressed, and it set us up for the rest of their journey. We even meet new characters who add another dimension to the characters and their stories, which I really liked. I couldn’t put it down as our heroes, and our villains, worked towards their goals.

For the most part, I really liked the book. I thought the plot was interesting and new. We had a clear goal for each character on what they wanted and what they were willing to do. I genuinely got excited at the end of the book wanting to know what is coming next. And I think I’m definitely going to buy and read book 2 when it releases in December.

Overall, I would have to give this book a starstarstar // 5 stars. I think that’s a neutral enough rating. There were some things I didn’t like in the story and other things I loved, so this feels like a natural resting place for my thoughts.

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If this book sounds interesting, be sure to check out Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

June 2020 TBR

May was an amazing reading month for me! I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to read that much ever again, especially since I’m moving!

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My reading habits may be on a downward trend from there, but I’m hopeful that I can get through at least five books in June. Here are the eight books that I want to read this month, if all goes well. Two of these are NetGalley books that I need to get through. Two are ARCs I received in a trade that I want to read. And the rest are for fun!

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It feels good to include some books that I want to read for fun rather than an “obligation” although, can you really call it that? It’s still so much fun! I added City of Brass on there because I won the third book so I need to get reading! I don’t currently own the second book so I’m not sure if I’m going to order a physical copy or get an e-copy yet. Either way, I’m finally reading this series.

I’m so nervous to move! By the time this post goes up I’ll be moving TOMORROW!!! One thing I am most worried about is losing my reading/posting motivation, so if anyone has any recommendations for that, I would greatly appreciate them!

I’m also worried that my writing habits will decrease too. I haven’t written a word in the past week and with the stress of moving, it may be a whole month before I can even sit down and write again. But I’ll try to write as much as possible before moving day.

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in June? Any June releases you’re especially excited for?

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

ARC Review: Cinderella is Dead

I received a copy of Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Let me start off by saying – there are some big themes in this book that the author covers. If you want more POC LGBTQIA+ representation, fierce female main characters, fighting the patriarchy energy, and overall discussion on oppression – Welcome! You’re going to appreciate this book. Cinderella is Dead will release on July 7th, 2020 so be sure to preorder this amazing retelling!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.

First off, I love this feminist anthem. An all encompassing feminism sweeping through the land, in a place where women are seen as property. I thought the plot was not only unique, but exciting, because it’s every woman for herself (kinda). I read this book in a single afternoon – I couldn’t put it down.

The twists and turns of this story just prove how versatile the story of Cinderella can be. And I thought this was a great tale to tell. We have a POC main character who is also LGBTQIA+, because representation (woo!), and she is not a demure girl. She is ready to change the world.

I really enjoyed this new take on a classic fairytale, because sometimes it’s too male dominated. And this book proves that men are trash. Well, most men are trash. In this world, men have all the power. Women have no rights and are property owned by their husbands – if they can manage to be married. The king hosts a ball every year allowing suitors and girls to come together and get engaged. Except it’s mandatory for the women to attend while it’s optional for men. Also, women only get three years to go and find a husband before they are forfeited and forced to work in the castle as a spinster.

Yeah – these men are TRASH.

I thought the writing was great, the message was great, and we have some awesome representation for girls everywhere. I don’t think there was anything I disliked about the story, except maybe Sophia’s obsessed with her crush Erin at the beginning. It was borderline creepy how pushy she was, but it’s as indicative of a man as any might be with a girl, so maybe just proves once again that men are trash. AKA, guys do a similar thing and are called persistent – but it’s not, it’s just creepy. Though I do want to point out that Sophia doesn’t pressure Erin to love her or be with her, she’s pressuring her to leave with her. Which is a different dynamic that still felt not good because Erin is not down with the idea.

Erin tells her multiple times to leave her alone and stop trying to push her to leave. Sophia is not taking no for an answer and for the first quarter of the book is trying to persuade Erin to leave with her because they love each other. While I get her want to be with her, especially since she technically can’t, it was a bit uncomfortable to see Sophia so pushy and not listen to Erin’s wants. Even if it went against Erin’s true feelings.

Besides her pushiness at the beginning, and her quick ability to fall in and out of love, this was an awesome story and I am going to scream about it for a while. The imagery is amazing, there are twists and turns that you won’t see coming, and it’s an overall fantastic book.

Also men are trash lol

So with that being said, my review is a solid starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars! I mean there wasn’t anything huge, too upsetting, or bad about this book. There was no strong reason for me to downgrade it and I loved the story. So it gets a perfect score from me. I mean, I couldn’t put it down physically so it’s a top read for me. This book is filled to the brim with representation, so if you’re looking for gay, POC, feminist, patriarchy smashing characters (and that’s just the main character) – welcome to your next favorite read!

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If you like this book, check out The Court of Miracles (out on June 2nd) by Kester Grant or Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: The Beholder

I am lucky to be a part of the blog tour for The Boundless by Anna Bright, so I thought a great way to prep for that would be to post my review of the first book, The Beholder!

I read the ARC of The Beholder, so I am going to count it as an ARC review, even though the book has been released. This is my first blog tour EVER, so I hope you all join me on June 7th to read my thoughts on The Boundless!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

Okay, so I had heard a bit about this book and how it was like The Bachelor on the sea (technically The Bachelorette) and it wasn’t wrong, but this book is so much more. Selah’s proposal is rejected at home and her stepmother sends her on a journey across the sea to find a husband claiming no one will marry her after her public rejection. Selah is shipped across the sea and has to make a stop in the Imperiya, which is like awful. She’s terrified of the fabled, but possibly real, Baba Yaga.

Now, I love romance in books, so long as it’s not the main plot point, but I actually really enjoyed this book! The romance was a big portion of the story, but it also shows Selah cultivating friendships and learning about different cultures as she’s shipped across Europe (or what we would deem as Europe).

It’s clear that Anna created her world off of our current world, keeping some names the same, and changing some to fit her world. My favorite part was her inclusion of Finland! While it was funny to base some of the characters off of the vikings, which were more Norway/Sweden than Finland, it was still heartwarming to see my second home mentioned. For those that are not aware, I am Finnish and I actually have dual citizenship for the USA and Finland! Though I don’t speak the language well, so don’t ask!

I like Selah’s personality, more specifically her sense of honor and her trusting nature. She’s a very genuine person with her friends and her love interests – it makes the book much more enjoyable.

There wasn’t much I didn’t like, although I was a little disappointed in one of her reactions. I was rooting for them, but I understood it was to keep the plot going (STILL UPSET THOUGH!) I have heard some pretty divided debates about this book, but it’s a strong starstarstarstar.5 // 5 stars for me!

I’m really excited to read The Boundless and if you are interested in reading my review, it will be posted on June 7th, 2020! Of course, it will be spoiler free. This is my first blog tour ever, so I’m very excited to get to participate!

Have you read The Beholder yet? What are your thoughts and what do you think will happen in The Boundless?

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If you like this book, check out The Selection by Kiera Cass!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

May 2020 Mid-Month Update

May has been a very good month so far for my TBR! I’ve currently read 7/10 books I wanted to read this month, which is insane for me. Because I’ve been reading so much I decided to add some extra books to my TBR. We’ll see if I can actually get through all of them this month, but I have hope I’ll get through most!

I also wanted to provide an update – because I have been reading more and have more content, I am going to try posting five times a week, Monday through Friday. This is a change from my normal blogging timeline, but I wanted to give it a try. If it doesn’t work, I’m going to go back to my typical posting schedule, but if I can maintain it, then we’re heading towards five days a week!

What I read

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For the books I’ve read, I blew through some of them it wasn’t even funny. I’ve read two duologies, The Bone Charmer/The Bone Thief  by Breeana Shields and The Storm Crow/The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson so far and will have finished another duology by the end of the month! Reviews will be up for all of these books at some point in the coming days. After reading Forest of Souls (the eARC), I realized I probably should have waited to read and review it. I received a physical ARC of the book this past Saturday and I think I’m going to do a reread of the physical book to make sure my thoughts are in order. I find that sometimes I’ll rate a book differently based on format (especially for ARCs) and I really want to give this book a fair chance, especially since it has huge Wicked Saints vibes and there were moments I was freaking out about. So, review for that may be delayed. But for the most part, I adored all of these books and I can’t wait for you to read my thoughts on them!

What I’m reading

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I’m currently almost finished with Thorn by Intisar Khanani and it is so good! I’m buddy reading this book with my friend Grace and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a Goose Girl retelling, which I’ve never read, but I like it! Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst is a bit of a struggle. It’s not a bad book, but I am definitely not in the mood to read it right now – maybe I’ll have to stick it back on the TBR pile for a while. I started reading The Boundless and I am almost 50% through. I wanted to make sure I had enough time to read for the blog tour and have my post ready for June. So far, I’m really liking the sequel and can’t wait to see what happens next. I know that this is a duology, so I’m wondering who Selah is going to end up with, if she ends up with anyone, and if she’s going to be able to get home to her father soon. There are so many unanswered questions!

What I plan to read

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I’ve added five books to my TBR (not including the two I added and I am currently reading) since I’m getting through books very quickly. I haven’t read this much since January 2019 when I read almost twenty books in the month. It was awesome! I’m really happy I get to read books that have been on my TBR for forever, as well as new books for review or for fun. I managed to win a copy of Empire of Gold (City of Brass #3) from Goodreads too and now I have to read the other two books. Why did I enter the giveaway when I hadn’t read the other two books? – because I never win giveaways so I didn’t think it would happen.

But here we are! And now I have motivation to read the first book, The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. I actually have a signed copy that I received for free at BookCon 2018 as part of the VIP package. I got City of Brass and The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – which I haven’t read either yet, though I’ve heard they are AMAZING!

So here is my mid-month update! I’ve currently read 7 seven books, I am reading 3 books, and I want to read 7 books. I’m sure I won’t get to all of them, but it’s good to have strong goals, right?

How is your TBR reading going? Any books that surprised you?

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: The Vanishing Deep

Today I am reviewing The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte. I read her debut novel, Four Dead Queens and absolutely loved it! The ARC I had received was a BookCon exclusive and it almost killed me to get it. Her second book is just as good, asking the question “What would you do if you could have more time after someone has passed?”

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Tempe was born into a world of water. When the Great Waves destroyed her planet, its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called. Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn’t food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister’s life. For a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the dearly departed for twenty-four hours before returning them to death. It isn’t a heartfelt reunion that Tempe is after; she wants answers. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why.

But once revived, Elysea has other plans. She doesn’t want to spend her last day in a cold room accounting for a crime she insists she didn’t commit. Elysea wants her freedom and one final glimpse at the life that was stolen from her. She persuades Tempe to break her out of the facility, and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents’ death and mend their broken bond. But they’re pursued every step of the way by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea’s time is up–and before the secret behind the revival process and the true cost of restored life is revealed.

This is Astrid’s sophomore novel and just as good as her first! I got an advanced copy of 4DQ at BookCon 2018 and it was so good! Getting an ARC of Vanishing Deep was awesome – I love Astrid’s writing and was so excited to read this book.

The hardest part about this book was the beginning. I recently had three deaths in my family this year and the death of a friend. To read Tempe’s struggle of her parents and sister dying hit me really hard and reminded me of the feelings I had experienced and am still going through. As she talks about the revival and getting to see her sister one more time alive, it almost broke me. I wanted to continue but also had to stop for my own sanity.

I’m glad I kept going though. While the beginning is heavy, the action picks up and pushes towards a different message thankfully. As the plot progresses, we get more details about the characters and find out that everything is not as it seems.

I thought the main characters were well set up and had clear motivations and intentions. The only person who I thought was under developed was the director at Palindromena. We get a character shift from her, or at least a bad perspective of her from other characters. She starts off as a nice characters we meet, but then we find out she’s a horrible person, and then we interact with her again and she’s okay to be around? It was confusing for me. I wish there was more development with that or at least a better explanation for why they somewhat ignored warnings about her.

Overall, I had fun with this story, even though it was heart breaking at first. I give this story a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 stars for the unique plot, sisterly love, and fun adventure. This was a fun read and it showed a realistic look at loss and what people will do to see their loved ones one last time.

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If this story sounds good for you, check out Seafire by Natalie C. Parker for an all girl, seafaring adventure. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Ruthless Gods

Spoiler warning: If you have not read the first book in the series, Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan, then I cannot guarantee this will be a spoiler free review. If you have read Wicked Saints, this review will not spoil Ruthless Gods

I am torn. On the one hand, this took me forever to read because I knew this would probably hurt me, so I didn’t want to finish it. The other part of me is mad I put it off and should have just finished sooner. Not sure which side will win the argument, but the fact is I took months to finish this book and the ending almost killed me, so here we are: writing this review in anger and resentment. Enjoy!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

So to be clear, I read the ARC of this book. Now that the finished copy is out, even though ARCs are basically final drafts, there are some editorial changes that can occur, meaning some things may be different. For the most part though, we should all be on the same page, though I’m not going to go into detail as this is a spoiler free review.

Let’s start off this review with the obvious: Emily wants to murder her readers. The emotional rollercoaster that was Ruthless Gods not only gave me several heart attacks while reading, but almost slew me at the end. Wicked Saints was a journey of its own because of the new characters we meet and grow to like – and then hate to love. Now we have characters undergoing big changes and it’s hard to watch your favorites change before your eyes.

Then theres also the fact that the previous book ended with attempted and actual murder.

My journey with this book was difficult. I often have a conflict with books I like: one part of me feels starved and needs to read it, the other is terrified of rushing through the book. I want to know what comes next without the aspect of finishing the book. Once the book is finished, there’s no more – until the next one comes out.

I have had a long time to reflect on this review because the emotions were high for me when I finished, but I’m going to be honest. It does suffer from middle book syndrome.

Now before anyone raises their pitch forks and torches, let’s remind ourselves what middle book syndrome is. It is essentially the idea that the middle book is a sort of filler between the events of book 1 and book 3 or books whatever, depending on how many books there are. Since this series is a trilogy, it’s books 1 and book 3. Now, I say this because the entire first half of the book I felt like I was going nowhere.

Nothing really happened. Why? Because we had to recoup from the ending of book 1, set up the driving force for book 2, and make sure that the momentum takes us into book 3. Middle book syndrome is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be a good thing, but it does mean that the book can lag. And Ruthless Gods lagged in the beginning.

But once the action started – OH MY GOSH. The last two hundred pages grabbed the collar of my shirt and dragged me along, whether I wanted to go or not.

So besides the apparent middle book syndrome, and character changes, what else is there. Well, nothing bad. I loved the driving force in this book and the chain of events that seemed inevitable, but really weren’t. One thing I did have to pick a fight on is Nadya. Sweet, stupid Nadya. Her actions and her decision making irritated the shit out of me. I wanted to smack her upside the head and scream at her. Now, I get the motivation behind it, but come on! So many bad choices were made and now I’m left to suffer because of it?

Why are you making me suffer?!

To wrap up my convoluted thoughts I really liked this book. Now don’t act all surprised because of what I said earlier. I was mad. Even with the lag at the beginning, once the plot gets going, you won’t be disappointed. I threw the book and was SCREAMING at the end, so that should tell you the mindset I am coming from as I write this. Just like with Wicked Saints, this book is a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png // 5 stars for me. If you haven’t read Wicked Saints yet, get on it. It’s a fantastic series!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, be sure to check out Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Cruel Prince by Holly Black, or Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree

I buddy read the BEA ARC of this book with my friend Grace and it took us about a week to read through it. This monster of a book is 800 pages of pure fantasy awesomeness. We have dragons, witches, mages, dragon riders, and so much action. I was a bit nervous to read this, but I read Kingdom of Ash which is almost 1,000 pages in the span of three days, so it can’t really be that intimidating. Spoiler: it wasn’t intimidating at all and I loved it!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

At first, I was unsure if this book was part of a series or a standalone, but looking at Goodreads it appears it is a standalone. This is a monster of a book, in the fact that not only is it about 850 pages, but there are multiple perspectives and places that this story jumps between. Once you’ve become acquainted though, the jumps become much easier to go with. I really go into it about 150-200 pages in and found myself sucked in until the end.

We read 75 pages at a time, until the last chunk where I read about 200 pages at once. Once you get to the last 300 pages, the action gets really intense and you just want to read right through it. First off, we are introduced into a world where a great dragon was defeated and locked away for a thousand years, and now might be coming back. There is the West where they worship the six saints of Knighthood and they believe the Queen of Inys is what keeps the Nameless One at bay and her future daughters will do the same.

Then there’s the East, who worships dragons, but a different kind than the Nameless One. Fire breathing dragons are feared, but there are others that are worshiped, kind, and even are ridden. These two sides of the world do not cooperate but as the threat of the Nameless One grows higher, they may have to put their differences aside to fight a common threat.

So the multiple characters we get to meet are all awesome, except I hate Dr. Roos. I won’t go into details about why but he is such a little snake and I could do without his POVs. Everybody else was a wild ride to read about. We get love affairs, battles, pirates, and such much stuff going on! Some chapters do drag a little because of background information, but for the most part the book starts and you’re immediately getting into action.

This was an easy read for me and I found myself glued to the edge of my seat unable to put the book down. The last three 300 pages of reading I suggested increasing the amount of pages from 75 to 100 then ended up binging the last 200 pages. The ONLY thing I thought could have been better was the epic battle this book was leading up to! It was intense, it was wild, and it was short. I wanted like the last 200 pages to be this epic battle going on and it just wasn’t that. It really disappointed me and my friend Grace that it couldn’t be longer.

Overall, the fantasy is fantastical, the characters are captivating, the plot is superb, and the battle was okay. This was a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png.5 // 5 stars for me. And honestly, the only thing that prevented it from being 5 stars was Dr. Roos and the battle scene.

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out Samantha’s other series The Bone Season or Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Hunting November

I received an eARC of Hunting November by Adriana Mather from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is the sequel to Killing November, so if you haven’t read the first book, check out my review!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Surviving a few weeks at the world’s most lethal boarding school was one thing. But now comes the real test: Can November Adley find her missing father before her enemies find her? Subterfuge is the name of the game in this thrilling sequel to Killing November, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Hang a Witch.

After surviving a crash course in espionage at the mysterious Academy Absconditi, November has only one purpose: finding her missing father. Along with fellow student (and heartthrob) Ash, November follows the clues that her father left, embarking on the deadliest treasure hunt of her life. The first clue is in her hometown, where old friends beckon and unexpected enemies lurk around every corner. The second clue is in Europe, where revelations about her family’s history will plunge her into an international web of deception, lies, and intrigue. The third clue is deep in enemy territory, surrounded by the most skilled assassins and master strategists, and where everyone wants her and her father dead. Can one girl with limited training infiltrate a centuries-old organization that is powerful enough to topple empires? November only knows that she’ll do whatever it takes to save her father . . . or die trying.

To start off, we pick right up from the action at the end of Killing November, which was a little disorienting since I haven’t read the book in a year. We immediately jump into action as the characters race off into action, getting the party started. Once the action starts it doesn’t stop for November. It was so intense, especially at the end, that I ended up staying up until 3:00am to finish this story.

I thought it was a great end to Killing November. There was action (duh, they’re like spies), drama, and good endearing moments. I loved the moments between November and Ash specifically cause teenage love is cute, but it also broke up the high risk action scenes. There was a lot I liked about the book, but I want to keep this spoiler free, so I won’t say what it is.

The biggest reasons why I didn’t give this a higher rating though is 1) I was immediately thrown into action with no recap, or explanation, just action. I’m not a big fan of that. 2) There were some moments where certain characters experienced a total personality switch between book 1 to 2. And it remains unexplained through the entire book. 3) I thought the ending was sweet, but it was predictable and felt a little lack luster to me.

I was a little disappointed at the ending actually. We get this intense story with a huge climax and then the ending felt flat after that. I wanted the action to keep going but it just suddenly stops. While I’m happy for November, I wanted the spy action to continue “of screen” and keep the momentum going.

Besides those issues I thought this was an awesome sequel! We get a nice, even end to November’s story and I’m fairly satisfied. This was a solid star.pngstar.pngstar.png.75 // 5 stars for me.

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If this series sounds interesting, check out Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo or Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Writing Update #2

It has been a while since I’ve done a writing update so I thought I would let you know how my manuscript is going!

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First off, I managed to get to 90 pages/26,000 words before I realized that the whole thing had to be scraped! It was devastating but also very needed. The story idea I had wasn’t working out on the page and it might be better as a middle grade, but I’m not ready to write that story just yet. I decided to scrap the thing and just rewrite it. So no more mermaids, hello witches!

The actual writing for it is between older YA and adult – I’m not quite sure where it lands yet. I think it’s going to hit upper YA/NA territory, but I’m over 25,000 words into it, so we’ll see!

For this process, I decided to save the original draft (NEVER DELETE ANYTHING!) and copy the draft into a new document. As I’m writing, I’m going chapter by chapters, reading through what I have and salvaging what I can. The beginning has all been deleted. There was nothing there I could keep, but the more middle parts might be saved depending on where this book goes.

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So far, my manuscript word count is at 25,021 words or 76 pages. Which I wrote in a week and a half and still writing. I would be at a higher word count, but Friday and Saturday were not good writing days. I wrote a little bit on those days, but I think it was maybe 1200 words total for the two days. I started rewriting this draft two weeks ago and I’m proud of what I’ve done so far!

My writing process is pretty much a pantser – I have a general plot line I want to follow, but my characters are holding the reins on this one and I’m just following their story! I’ve been writing about a chapter a day, with each chapter being at least 5-6 pages long. Some are shorter, some are longer, but that’s the average for this draft. I’m hoping to hit at least 100,000 words for this draft, but we’ll see if it gets there. So far, I have high hopes that this will be a solid, long draft that I can work some magic into!

My goal for next week is to add at least another 15,000 words to the draft and really get this story going. When I opened my draft for the first time in a while, I was at 23,000 words. I added about 3,000 and then realized it all had to go! So fingers crossed I can get to 40,000 by the end of the week!

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Kingdom of Back

So not to surprise anyone, but this is the first Marie Lu book I’ve ever read. I managed to trade for an ARC of this book from a friend and it was so good! I love historical fiction and as a classically trained flute player I’ve played a lot of Mozart. To get to see a new side to the composer and his lesser known sister was an experience for me. And to mix fantasy into it? Even better.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish–to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age–her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true–but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

As a musician, reading about their playing and composition struggles hit home for me. I had composed some small pieces myself in music theory classes, including a duet I co-composed between flute and clarinet. It was very relatable for me to see struggles that they were going through and sympathize with the doubts Nannerl felt. While my flute playing never brought in any money, even though it could have, it was interesting to see the historical differences for Wolfgang (Woferl) vs. Maria Anna (Nannerl).

As a woman, Nannerl can only perform until she is of age to marry and can never compose. Meanwhile, Woferl can play and compose until his dying breath (which he did). When Nannerl wishes to be remembered, she is approached by a Guardian spirit – Hyacinth, who strikes a deal with her: if you complete three tasks for me I will make sure you are remembered forever.

So, first off this is not high fantasy. This is more like urban fantasy where the fantastical elements are hidden from the modern world, except the modern world is 18th century Austria. While the Kingdom of Back moments are filled with faeries and monsters alike, it is written more like a dream than a world beyond. I thought the tone of it fit the story well as the Kingdom was “created” by two children looking to escape from their world of societal expectations and music. But don’t be fooled, this is not a high fantasy novel and most of the book is not set in the fantasy world.

Once you get past that expectation it does fluidly mix the fantasy world and real world together. Most of the story takes place in the real world and is primarily historical fiction mixed with some fantasy, but I love historical fiction so it wasn’t an issue for me. We have moments of hidden faces and unexpected images which I thought was even better than spending the entire book in the Kingdom. We get to see the children grow up and face real things that happened to them: Wolferl getting sick frequently, Nannerl’s secret compositions, and their journey around Europe.

There wasn’t much that I didn’t like about the story honestly. I enjoyed seeing a young Wolfgang, since we really only hear about his scandalous days at court as a young man and not his childhood, and getting to learn about his sister Maria Anna. We see their relationship, their home life, their music careers. It reminds the reader that these were real people.

The thing that sealed the deal with this story was Marie’s author note at the end. This book was a decade long project for her and her objective made me cry. Nannerl did not get to grow up and be a musician and composer like Wolferl, but her music lives on, hidden in his work. Now, for the most part, girls can be whoever and do whatever they want. Nannerl’s wish was to live on forever and now she can, inspiring girls everywhere to live their dreams.

This book was a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 star read for me. The ending made me emotional and brought back the reasons why I love music. I miss the experience of performing someone’s creation long after they are gone and bringing to light the world as they saw it.

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If this book sounds interesting, check out Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: House of Earth and Blood

Before I get into this review, just a reminder that the giveaway my friend Writing the Universe and I are holding ends on Monday! Here is the link to enter – please make sure you enter through Rafflecopter (link in the giveaway post) and are doing all FIVE of the mandatory tasks to be entered properly! Good luck!

After a lot of pushing, I was forced to start reading House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas. I wanted to wait to read this because once you’ve read something, you can’t read it for the first time ever again, but after being pressured to read it, for my own good, I did. And wow. Sarah J Maas is always a favorite.

As a warning since Sarah has written both a young adult and new adult series, this is 100% adult fiction. While it is similar to her younger series, there is a lot of cursing, violence, sex, and other adult references. If you are not prepared to read an adult series, this book is not one to read right now. You can check out her other younger series Throne of Glass which is YA or A Court of Thorns and Roses which is New Adult.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

As an avid lover of Sarah J Maas, this review is going to be biased. I’ve read every book she’s written at this point and have loved everything she’s written and I can safely add this title to the list.

To start off this review, I’m going to go over a few different areas/concepts. To start, let’s look at characters.

We meet Bryce Quinlan and her partner in crime Danika – two party queens enjoying their youth. After meeting these friends, we only get a glimpse at their shallow lives. It’s all about drinking, sex, drugs, and enjoying themselves but we don’t get a lot besides that and their intense friendship. As we move along, we learn more about Bryce and Danika revealing they are much more than shallow party girls, but real genuine people who care deeply about the people around them. Among other things.

As Bryce shows her true colors and her development over time, it shows that people can be big hearted, have fun, and be smart and sophisticated. Nobody is one dimensional. While she may be a party girl in the beginning she also proves that she was and is much more than that. Other’s perceptions cloud her true personality and people make assumptions about who she is, which we can all relate to. I love seeing a realistic look at bullying (yes, even adults get bullied unfortunately) and how she responds to it. Bryce allows people to make assumptions about her and doesn’t correct them, proving you have to get to know her to see who she truly is.

Another person we see growth from is Hunt. When we meet him, he is a cold angel of death. As he encounters Bryce after the murder of her best friend there is no love or sympathy behind his eyes. When the two start working together we see both of them start to slowly change over time as they both relearn to love. Another thing about getting to know Hunt was his struggles with mental health as well. Often we don’t see men shown as weak or needing help and I thought that the way Sarah portrays both of them helping each other is just what society needs. Everyone sees Hunt as this tough guy, but he shows Bryce that not only is there more to him than being a killer, but he is just as much of a softy as anyone else.

When I look at the plot – I love it. We have a classic murder mystery mixed with high fantasy in a modern-ish world. It’s like mixing everything I love into one story. I do have to admit that the first 400 pages are slow. We get world building, backstory, and plot build up which takes away from the rush of action sometimes. The plot of the story starts around page 200 or so, about 25% into the story, but it starts to accelerate 50% of the way through and doesn’t stop. Once the halfway mark hits, everything goes crazy and you’re dragged along for a wild ride. There are so many twists and turns in this story I’m sure my head spun a full 360 degrees by the end.

Besides the character development and plot, I love the world of Crescent City! We get different factions of beings who serve different purposes. A whole world of vampires, fae, angels, werewolves, shifters, merpeople, demons, and more alike to keep you entertained. There was a lot of laughter and tears for me reading this story and I think it’s equal to the TOG series, if not better. I discovered Maas’ books just after Empire of Storm was published and ACOMAF close behind so while I haven’t been a fan for years like others, she is definitely one of my favorite authors. I can’t wait to read more from her.

Now, to get to the review. Would anyone be surprised that this is a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 star review? I loved this book so much and it was so refreshing to see someone deal with trauma and mental illness in a such a realistic way. It feels like myself and other people suffering from mental illness are finally being seen and it makes me so happy.

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If this book sounds good to you, check out Sarah’s other series Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses for similar content. Another fantasy epic you’ll love is Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Goddess in the Machine

Before I get into this review, just a reminder that the giveaway my friend Writing the Universe and I are holding ends on Monday! Here is the link to enter – please make sure you enter through Rafflecopter (link in the giveaway post) and are doing all FIVE of the mandatory tasks to be entered properly! Good luck!

My friend Grace and I were lucky enough to snag a YallFEST exclusive of Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson this past November and decided to buddy read it while in quarantine. It was a rocky start, but a solid finish and now I’m so excited to read book 2!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning.

Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists–including her family and friends–are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.

Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne–if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her.

With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?

So the biggest issue we both had at the beginning was the language. Lora Beth shows how the language has changed within those thousand years with different spelling and their own slang. At first it’s very daunting trying to understand what these people are trying to say but as we continued to read, we found it easier to understand the characters and her writing. This was a huge relief for us. Both of us were considering DNFing the book due to the inability to fully grasp what was going on, but I’m glad we stuck it out.

The other thing I had an issue with was the main love interest. Because of the language change and confusion, Zhade came off as a child to me. It was so hard to think of him as a teenager, or an adult, or however old he was. I could only see him as this 11/12 year old kid helping Andra with the way that he talked. Which is not what you want for a love interest. Over time, it got better, but the beginning was rough especially when trying to picture him flirting, which he does a lot.

Now, I didn’t get fully invested into the story until 200 or so pages in. That’s a lot of pages to read before I’m excited to see what’s next. I had been mildly interested in what was going on before the 200 page mark, but the events that happen after page 200 is what really brought me in and got me excited to read what happens next. Not everyone has that patience though.

Once we got into the thrill of the book, it was really good. Good enough that we both want to read the sequel when it is released. Yay! This book isn’t supposed to release until June 30th, 2020 so the early draft we got could have changed a lot in that time between when we got the ARC in November and release date. So take my criticism with a grain of salt on this one.

Again, besides the language, and a slow beginning, I really enjoyed this story and thought it was a great sci-fi mystery! This was a solid star.pngstar.pngstar.png.5 // 5 stars for me and I think anyone who likes science fiction will love this story!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman or Skyward by Brandon Sanderson!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

ARC Review: Where Dreams Descend

I received an eARC of Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

FIRST OFF. This review would have been MUCH higher if not for two things. 1) Half of the book is filler. I am not joking. Half of it is filler. There was so many unnecessary scenes that just slowed down the flow of the book it was driving me mad. I stayed at 30% for almost two months because the second the “plot” started and the main character arrived in town, it felt like LITERALLY NOTHING HAPPENED FOR 100 PAGES.

2) THIS BOOK IS SO CONFUSING. I don’t mean, “oh wow, this is really complex and might be hard to grasp”. No, I mean like it was not explained well and the twists and turns don’t make sense at all and you’re just sitting there going “huh”??? Now, maybe I’m dumb, a definite possibility. But after talking to my friend who also finished the book and revealing that they don’t know what happened either, I’m gonna go with bad writing on this one.

Was the plot super cool and interesting? Hell yeah! Were the characters complex and engaging? Absolutely! Did that cover up the bad writing? No. And it’s unfortunate because the writing itself is beautiful. She went for a mystical, mysterious feel and she succeeded, but her ability to explain concepts and plot points clearly was lacking. It was so hard to get through at points due to the writing and not understand what she was trying to say/show. It made me want to skim so I could get to dialogue or clearer lines to clarify what was going on. Even with the temptation, I stuck it through and read the book and just didn’t like it. And trust me, I really wanted to like it!

In the end, I could really only give this book star.pngstar.png//5 stars. Again, not because I hated the book (I really didn’t hate the book) but because there was a lot going on that left me bored, confused, and unsatisfied. It made me dislike reading it and made it difficult to get through.

Now, granted, I read the ARC, so the finished copy may have fixed a lot of these issues and might be clearer. And you should definitely give this book a try because I loved the concept, just not the execution.

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If you’re looking for a dark, mystical fantasy, check out Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

April Mid-Month Update

March was crazy and April is following closely behind for me. This month I have focused on the books currently sitting in my NetGalley queue and other giveaway books I’ve won. I’ve also allowed my self to read some TBR books this month to keep it fresh and motivate me, as well as some buddy reading! Here is my mid month update on what I’ve read, what I’m reading, and what I plan to read for April!

What I’ve read:

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What I’m reading:

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What I plan to read:

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I’m currently buddy reading The Kingdom of Back and Goddess in the Machine with some friends, which is why it’s taking so long for me to read them. If you follow me on Goodreads, then you’d see I’m reading about 50 pages a day for each of them. I am also almost done with Where Dreams Descend and plan to start The Vanishing Deep next!

I’m hopeful that I can read the rest of these books by the end of the month, but it might change depending on how I’m feeling. Most likely, one or two of these will need to be pushed into May but again, I’m hopeful that I can get through them all. Now one of these books is HUGE (cough cough, SJM, cough cough)! I’m excited to dive into two of my favorite authors, especially since most of my friends have read their books already and are waiting on me to finish. I love Astrid’s debut novel Four Dead Queens and I’ve been hearing great things about The Vanishing Deep!

As I set up my May TBR, what are some titles you’re looking to read? I have a few ARCs, some new releases, and old TBR books I’m hoping to get through. I also want to push myself to read more books this month and next month so I can get ahead for my reading goal.

Don’t forget, I am currently co-hosting a giveaway with Writing the Universe! You can enter through the Rafflecopter we have set up (entries will only count if you enter through there!). I will link the post to our giveaway – please feel free to check it out and enter!

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

I Need to Rant

Okay, I’m not normally a ranter.

Alright maybe that was a lie, but I don’t rant on my blog often. Today I feel like I need to get this off my chest and maybe that will be the catalyst to turn this around.

I am finding it extremely hard to find a book that I want to read right now. After reading several amazing books this month (check out my latest reviews!!) nothing seems to catch my attention the same way.

As of today, I am currently reading three books: Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles, The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu, and Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson. While I’m enjoying them for the most part, I am .01% away from DNFing Goddess in the Machine and I’m just trying to get through Where Dreams Descend because this is my 3rd? 4th? attempt trying to finish it. The only book I’m not pulling hair to get through is Kingdom of Back at the moment.

Now, the most annoying problem is, is that normally I would love all of these books. They fit right into my favorite genres and have amazing plots, characters, pacing and tone is great. But, still, I just can’t love them.

I’m worried that not only am I about to fall into a reading slump, but my slump will turn books that I should love, and probably would love, into books that I can’t stand. And I’m so frustrated with this! The second I get myself into a reading frenzy I can’t bring myself to like the books I’m getting through. I can’t figure out what is causing this or how I can fix it, so I guess be prepared for some not great reviews on these books because my stupid brain can’t detach the stress of life and wants me to hate them.

And I really want to like them.

I’ve found myself in these slumps before and it usually marks the end for my reading. I get through a couple really good books and then BAM! I can’t reading anything else for a month and I’m stuck. Really frustrating for a book blogger. I’m hoping I can turn this around and keep going since I have been doing much better with finishing and reviewing books in a somewhat timely manner right now, but we’ll see.

Anyways, that was my rant. I’m just frustrated with my brain and my reading at the moment. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for staying with me. 🙂

Okay, I’m going to get back to reading and hopefully get myself out of this rut.

ARC Review: The Raven and the Dove

***If you haven’t seen, I am currently co-hosting a giveaway with my friend Alexa who runs Writing the Universe. We are giving away four bags full of books, ARCs, and swag from ApollyCon and our personal collection as well as two prizes for our international people! Here is the link to enter. Please be sure to enter through the Rafflecopter link in order for your entries to count! Okay, now back to the review 🙂

I received an eARC of The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

So I requested this book on NetGalley solely because of the cover. Don’t ask me why I was judging this book on its cover, but I was. After requesting the title I looked at the tag line and was instantly hooked: Four fates collide in this avian-inspired, epic fantasy retelling of Tristan and Isolde perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo! This screamed my name and I am so happy I got a copy because it lived up to its tag!

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Here is they synopsis from Goodreads:

A princess longing to be free…

On the dawn of her courtship trials, Princess Lyana Aethionus knows she should be focused on winning her perfect mate, yet her thoughts wander to the open sky waiting at the edge of her floating kingdom. One final adventure calls. Upon fleeing the palace, the last thing she expects to find is a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon.

A bastard aching to belong…

Reviled son of a dead king, Rafe would do anything for his beloved half-brother, Prince Lysander Taetanus, including posing as him in the upcoming courtship trials. When a dragon interrupts their secret exchange, he orders his studious sibling to run. After suffering a fatal blow, Rafe is saved by a beautiful dove who possesses forbidden magic, just like him.

Fate brought them together, now destiny will tear them apart…

Unknown to the world above, on the foggy sea ten thousand feet below, a young king fights a forgotten war. He believes Lyana is the queen prophesied to save the world, and with the help of his favored spy, hidden deep in the highest ranks of the dove royal house, he will stop at nothing to have her.

When I started reading this book, I thought to myself “Wow! This is a great read, it’s so fun, I’m very interested. What happens next?” As I continued to read I found myself unable to put the book down. I would read pages upon pages of the story before I could convince myself to stop because the story is that engaging. We have free-spirited Lyana or Ana who’s big heart and big sense of adventure makes you want to follow her and her journey. Cassi, who’s air of mystery keeps you guessing from one page to the next. Xander, who is so sweet and loving that you just want to give him the biggest hug and shield his eyes to any wrong doings. And finally, Rafe, who is so tortured that you can’t help but want to make it all better.

These 4 POVs each bring a different personality and view point into the mix and it makes the story so good. I can’t imagine reading it from just one of their POVs for the entire story. Each view point brings so much to the plot and the depth of the story it makes it a wild ride!

So yeah, I really liked this book. I thought the characters are awesome, the plot is new and interesting (but also familiar enough to like), and the author’s writing is enjoyable. Did I dislike anything? Honestly, no. I was captivated from the first page and loved every second of the ride. I’ve already preordered the second book so I can read it once it’s released in September.

So for this book I gave it star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 stars. So you might be asking yourself, Sammy, why didn’t you give this 5 stars then? Well, I don’t know. I thought the book was great and everything about it was awesome but it didn’t bring about that excitement. The exhilaration and heart pounding certainty that I’ve just read something so amazing words cannot explain. Did I find myself glued to my chair the entire time, unable to put the book down? Yes. Did I love it and have nothing to complain about? Yes. Is it a story I can’t stop thinking about and need to dive back into immediately? Well, no. And that might be why it’s not a 5 star read for me. But, I still adored this story and I cannot wait to read book 2! In fact, I’m anxious to find out what happens next.

If you want an adventure filled with big personalities, multiple POVs, and a solid plot – well, what are you waiting for? Go read it now!

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If this book sounds interesting, check out Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

NetGalley Update: April 2020

So I wanted to update my NetGalley waitlist/stats since the last one went up end of January. I have been reading a lot more since being forced to work at home. Less commute time = more reading time.

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With all that reading time meant I had to request more titles too! So here is my updated NetGalley waiting list 🙂

So far, I have been approved for these titles:

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Declined on these titles:

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*Cries softly at all of the books I got rejected for these past two months, including Deck of Omens which was actually devastating! Especially since I was approved for an eARC of The Devouring Grey. Okay, I’m not going to cry! Moving on!

And still waiting to know about these titles:

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I would be so excited to read any of these, but I’m anxiously checking my inbox to see if I get approved for Addie LaRue because if I don’t, I will cry. No, I will sob. This is a unicorn for me and getting to read it early would probably give me a heart attack from pure joy. So fingers crossed that I can cry happy tears instead of sad ones.

At the moment I am currently reading Shielded by KayLynn Flanders and will be reading The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte next.

From my last update I have read:

Lobizona by Romina Garber

Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke

Night Spinner by Addie Thorley

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Sensational by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis (review to come!)

Aurora Rising and Sensational were two “overdue” books that I had sitting in my cue for well over three months and finally finished them! I had Aurora waiting for about a year and Sensational was about five months – but I completed them and I am somewhat up to date on my reading! Yay!

I have linked my reviews of each book that I have read for you to check out – these six books were AMAZING! I can’t wait to continue reading the new books I have and hopefully, read some of the others I’m waiting for.

What is a title you’re anxiously hoping to be approved/waiting to read? The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is by far my top choice but, if I could request it, I would also die to read Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir.

You may or may not have seen that I am co-hosting a huge giveaway through my blog and my friend Alexa’s blog, Writing the Universe. I will link the post to enter to win ARCs, books, and ApollyCon swag! You must enter through the Rafflecopter in order to count your entry. Thanks for looking, good luck!

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ApollyCon 2020 + Giveaway!

***Just a reminder: If you want to be entered to win one of the 4 bags or if you’re an international reader, you NEED to enter and do the task via the Rafflecopter. If you do the tasks and don’t track them in the Rafflecopter, you won’t be counted as a possible winner.

So I’m a bit peeved at COVID-19 because, well, everything. I had planned to go to ApollyCon 2020 and was so upset when the event was cancelled. This would have been my first time going to this event and I was so excited to see some of my favorite authors and meet new authors, but alas, it was not meant to be. While I am in support of Jen’s decision to cancel the event and move it online, I’m still really sad I wasn’t able to experience it in full, but I loved the online experience. Getting to hear from different authors and the different giveaways they did were so much fun! While ApollyCon 2021 is not confirmed, I really hope it can put be on and I can experience the event for myself next year.

While ApollyCon may have been cancelled, the fun continues on! I am so excited to be able to co-host this HUGE ApollyCon giveaway with Alexa over at Writing the Universe. I met Alexa just after ApollyCon 2019 and we quickly became friends after meeting up for a trade. Her giveaway last year looked like so much fun that I had to participate this year.

For 2020 we are giving away FOUR ApollyCon prize bags. Each will contain a mixture of books, ARCs, ApollyCon swag, and book box swag. There will also be TWO international giveaway winners who will receive a choice of a Jen Armentrout book through Book Depository (if BD ships to them) or a kindle copy of her newest book From Blood and Ash!

I will post the Terms and Conditions of the giveaway below, but I wanted to post a sneak peak of some of the items you could win!

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We will be randomly choosing the winners through Rafflecopter and I will provide a link in my post. Here are the terms and conditions for this giveaway:

This Giveaway is split between my blog Lady and Star and my friend Alexa’s blog, Writing the Universe. We each will post 2 of the 4 ApollyCon Bags. These bags are what were included with the purchase of a Titan ticket for the event, plus extra books and book box swag. These bags are packed completely full of books and bookish items. Each bag is a mix of genres, fandom, and items. Each bag is different but may share similar/same items.

4 winners will be chosen, but you do not get to choose your bag.

There is a list of 10 things you can do to enter this giveaway, 5 of them are mandatory, the other 5 are bonuses – giving you a possibility for 10 total entries.

These are mandatory:

  1. Follow Lady and Star (My Blog)
  2. Follow Writing the Universe (Alexa’s Blog)
  3. Follow Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Twitter (@JLArmentrout)
  4. Follow my Twitter (@SuchABadBASS)
  5. Follow Alexa’s Twitter (@lexacourtney)
    *Email followers count as well; you do not need to have a WordPress account to qualify. We just have to be able to determine you are actually following our blogs

Extra Entries:

  1. Retweet Pinned Giveaway Tweet on My Twitter
  2. Retweet Pinned Giveaway Tweet on Alexa’s Twitter
  3. Follow My Blog Twitter (@ladyandstar)
  4. Comment on this post with your favorite JLA Book
  5. Comment on Alexa’s Giveaway post with your favorite JLA Book

All of these tasks are listed in the Rafflecopter, as well as all the terms and conditions listed below.

Here is the link to enter! RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5b9c1f832/?

This Giveaway is going to run from April 6, 2020 8 AM EST, to April 27, 2020 12:00 AM EST . Winners will be announced April 29, and notified via email with a Google Doc to fill out.

***Due to circumstances surrounding COVID -19 and various forms of Stay At Home Directives in place, we will notify you when we are able to ship. Of course, we will do our best to get them out as soon as possible after announcing the winners.

NO GIVEAWAY ACCOUNTS FOR EITHER KIND OF PRIZES.

NO FOLLOWING TO UNFOLLOW AFTER  THE GIVEAWAY ENDS.

We will be checking, and you will be blocked from any future giveaways.

For the 4 Apollycon 2020 Bags

Bags contain a mix of Apollycon 2020 books and swag, plus a variety of ARCs and Book Box swag. Each bag is different, but there may be some similarities. The above photos contain what you may receive, but are not a guarantee of what will be included in your prize if you win.

– Must be US residents with a US mailing address

– Must be 18+ or have a parent’s permission

The four Apollycon bags will ship in a Medium Flat Rate USPS Box.

We wanted to include our international friends in this giveaway, while keeping it Apollycon related. Since Jen, the creator of Apollycon, surprise released a new book at the end of March, we wanted to give people a chance to acquire it.

For the 2 Books* – 2 Winners

*This is for International People ONLY, please do not enter if you are a US resident!

– Must be 18+ or have a parent’s permission

– If Book Depository ships to your country, you can chose any Jennifer L. Armentrout Book up to $15, OR get a Kindle version of her Newest Book FROM BLOOD AND ASH.

All the same rules apply, 10 possible entries, but only 5 are mandatory. If chosen as a winner, you will be notified via email with a Google Doc to fill out.

Alexa and I are so excited to be able to put on this giveaway for you and wish everyone the best of luck!

***If/when you head over to Alexa’s blog, you’re going to see a lot of the same information. Know that it doesn’t mean double, the Rafflecopter’s are the same, with all of the same tasks. It does not matter which link you click on, or who’s blog you access it from.

Thanks for entering! ❤

 

ARC Review: Girl, Serpent, Thorn

I received an ARC of Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust through a giveaway on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

I was lucky enough to receive a manuscript/early ARC through YallFEST but was so disappointed when it was a black cover. If you haven’t seen the cover art for this book, it is absolutely beautiful (as shown below). On a whim, I entered a Goodreads giveaway for a newer ARC because it had the cover art and with the expectation that I was not going to win. Normally, I don’t – but this time I did. And let me just say, the cover art is more beautiful in person.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

 

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

Reading the synopsis was one of the first things that pulled me into this story. I knew I was in for a wild ride after reading that and I was right. We meet Soraya, a poisonous princess locked away in her room for others protection. While she does have access to the secret tunnels in her “castle”, she is aware that were she to run into anybody it could be deadly. The feeling of isolation and loneliness due to being locked away from Soraya really resonated with me. Everyone has felt lonely at times, but true loneliness is a difficult and cyclical feeling for people and it broke my heart when we first encountered our protagonist. I think Melissa writes this out beautifully though and shows the conflict in Soraya’s mind between finding a connection and keeping boundaries while also not only keeping it realistic, but unique to our character.

As we go on our journey, the twists and turns never stop. The way I thought this plot line would go was nowhere near the truth of this story – we go from point A to C to G to Y and my head is spinning (in a good way). I really didn’t expect the book to go the way it did but I think it makes it that much better. The self love Soraya is encouraged to find is an amazing message to anyone reading this and it feels genuine. The reader and Soraya learn some valuable lessons along the way and see the motivation behind every decision and their consequences. This book is not boring to say the least.

Now, there wasn’t much that I disliked, but, there are certain moments I wanted the author to write more into and extend and others I wanted to shrink. I won’t go into details, for obvious reasons, but some scenes I wanted more of! I really enjoyed reading Soraya’s story and I think anyone who loves a fierce heroine who can not only save herself, but learn to love herself in the meantime, is going to love this story.

I gave this book star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 stars with no regrets. I loved this book and while I have a strong feeling this is a standalone, I would be so happy to read a sequel just to spend more time with these characters!

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If this book sounds interesting, check out The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh and The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: Sensational

I received an e-ARC of Sensational by Jodie Lynn Zdrok from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review:

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris is full of innovations, cultural displays, and inventions. Millions of visitors attend over the course of several months…so no one would notice if a few were missing, right? Maybe—but someone is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the guillotine with a display of their own: beheaded victims in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits.

Nathalie Baudin’s ability to see murder scenes should help, but she’s suffering the effects of her magic more than ever before. Fortunately she has other Insightfuls to team up with—if they can be trusted.

 

I genuinely enjoyed this book and thought it was a great conclusion for this duology. We follow Nathalie as she continues her work helping the morgue and police with murder investigations. She has a suitor, is still working with Le Petite Journal, and while everything is going well, is still recovering from the Dark Artist murders two years earlier. It was sad to read that even two years later Nathalie is still suffering from the murder of her best friend. While I’m aware that grief does not have a timeline, I would have hoped she was feeling more comfortable and secure than we see her at the start of the book.

I also enjoyed getting to see more of her friends in this book. In Spectacle, we see a lot of the morgue, Le Petite Journal, and Aunt Bridgette. In Sensational, we see Nathalie with her friends more, going out and about. It was a nice change of pace from the first book and I liked the social interaction as well.

I thought the plot was great and even when I thought I knew the killer, I was still shocked to find myself wrong. It was interesting having the events coincide with the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris and to see what the exposition would have looked like through Nathalie’s eyes. It’s always fun to include a big historical event in a murder novel!

My only complaint was that there was sometimes too much of nothing in between scenes. The filler slowed down the book a lot in certain areas and it was preventing me from devouring the story like I did with Spectacle. Regardless, I like the plot, I like the ending, and I thought it was a great way to wrap up Nathalie’s story.

This book was a solid star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 stars for me. I loved book 1 and book 2 was just as great.

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If this book sounds interesting, check out My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

March 2020 Wrap Up

This month has been strange to put it plainly. With my position being moved remotely and me now working from home, I have more free time to do things like read. This month I’ve read more than I have in recent months. I’m quite happy with how much I’ve read, and it’s not a lot, but it’s more than in the past. These books have mostly been from NetGalley, but I hope to read more from my TBR in April. Here are all the books I’ve read and acquired in March.

Books I’ve Read:

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Night Spinner by Jennifer Gruenke

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5

Goodreads

 

 

 

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Night Spinner by Addie Thorley

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: star.pngstar.pngstar.png//5

Goodreads

 

 

 

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Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Rating: star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Books I’ve Bought/Received:

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Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee

Format: e-ARC

Received from: NetGalley

Publication Date: June 23rd, 2020

Goodreads

 

 

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Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Format: e-ARC

Received from: NetGalley

Publication Date: July 7th, 2020

Goodreads

 

 

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The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant

Format: e-ARC

Received from: NetGalley

Publication Date: June 2nd, 2020

Goodreads

 

 

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The Bone Thief by Breeana Shields

Format: eARC

Received from: NetGalley

Publication Date: May 26th, 2020

Goodreads

 

 

 

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House of Blood and Earth by Sarah J Maas

Format: Hardcover

Purchased: Barnes & Noble

Publication Date: March 3rd, 2020

Goodreads

 

 

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Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Format: Hardcover

Purchased: Barnes & Noble

Publication Date: March 3rd, 2020

Goodreads

 

 

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee

Format: Hardcover

Purchased: One More Page Bookstore

Publication Date: November 26th, 2019

Goodreads

 

 

What are some books you’ve read/purchased recently? Let me know in the comments!

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: Aurora Rising

I received a copy of Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I know, I know, I’m late on this one, but better late than never right? This book has been sitting in my NetGalley queue for like a year now and I finally read it. In less than 24 hours. Why did I wait so long!?