Review: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

Title: The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1)

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Pub. Date: October 24th, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher:  Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Pages: 416

Formats: eGalley

    

The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano can very well be seen as a gender-bend version of the King Midas & the Golden Touch myth. We are introduced to Wil Heidle the only daughter to the Northern King as well as her 3 brothers & mother. The King himself is a man who will stop at nothing when he sets out to seize lands & so the North is at the brink of war with the South. The South may not be wealthy like the North however, the King knows that the land itself is rich in medicinal plants that can produce miracle cures.

The King sees each of his children as pawns & as such has groomed each of them to serve a purpose in his Kingdom. Wil however is the child he has always feared & never loved due to the circumstances revolving her birth. She wasn’t born with her mothers beauty but rather with what appeared to be a birthmark over her heart. From the moment she was born she was said to be carrying a great evil… EVERYTHING Wil touches that has life turns into gemstone. No one including Wil herself are aware of this dormant power & so the King who trusts no one, decides to groom her from a very young age to be a spy to the Kingdom. Until the day Wil’s power manifests itself in the worse possible way leaving tragedy in its wake. Wil is forced to leave the kingdom & chooses to go in search of a cure for what she believes is a curse. Hiding her true identity, Wil ventures into enemy lands in the South on her quest for a cure. Meeting another cursed soul was never in her plans. Finding out that he’s the Prince of the South doesn’t simplify things.

King of the North- a man only interested in power & the lands he can acquire. He loves his wife who is his Achilles heel but he will use his kids and their skills to his benefit whenever he sees fit.

Queen of the North- It scared me how much of myself I saw in this character. The Queen has OCD & her biggest fear is anything bad happening to any one of her kids. She spends nights awake roaming the castle halls checking in on them to make sure they are breathing. Oftentimes counting random things such as the number of kisses she gives each one of them while they are asleep. The Queen has a wanderer heart which she gave up once she became the Queen & a mother but her free spirit lives in on in two of her kids.

Wil Heidle- Craves to see the world & experience life in all corners of the world, Wil is very much like her mother. She is also a very talented spy who really just wants to make her father proud. This is her only connection to her father & so she works hard at gathering secrets all throughout the kingdom. It is because of this that she plays all her cards close to the chest & has her walls up high. Wil loves her family, flaws & all but it’s her brother Gerdie she is attached to most.

Gerdie Heidle- Struck by Gray Fever when he was a child, Gerdie is a living miracle. He is able to walk with the assistance of metal leg frames & wards off fevers via his homemade remedies. He is an alchemist & therefore the King looks to him for warfare & ingenuity. Gerdie & Wils relationship was my favorite of them all in this book. The scenes in Gerdies lab were some of my favorite & I could vividly imagine the mini explosions Gerdie set off while Wil ran to check on him.

Owen Heidle- Oldest son & therefore heir to the throne, Owen will one day be king & perhaps the kingdom would be better off with him in charge. Also a wanderer like his mother, Owen has traveled the world & seen many things. He has a vision for the Northern kingdom & preventing his father from starting a war is top priority. Owen loves all his siblings & is seen as the level headed responsible one of them all.

Baren Heidle- The son the king has cast off as useless. He lacks the IQ Gerdie brings to the table & the logistical/physical skills Owen carries. This has made Baren into a very bitter & angry brother/son who hates everyone except his mother. I would’ve liked to have seen more of this character, he was definitely treated as the invisible son.

Loom & Zay- Later on in the story we meet the Southern Prince Loom & his traveling companion Zay. The Prince does carry a curse within him & very much like Wil doesn’t agree with the way his father the Southern King is running the land. They are enemies without knowing it & so their relationship is based on lies. Won’t go into detail for fear of spoilery things but I will say that I really did enjoy Looms character. He has a big heart & wants to do more for his people in many ways similar to Owen Heidle. Zay his companion is AMAZING!!!! she is the definition of Momma Bear! very maternal, Zay will fight you to the death if you hurt her loved ones.

A solid start to The Glass Spare series!!! this was my 1st Lauren DeStefano read & it really took my by surprise how invested I got in this story. I picked this book up on a late Friday night & couldn’t put it down, before I knew it I had reached the last sentence. A genderbend version of King Midas & the Golden Touch, one of my favorite myths growing up as a kid. My first revelation was that Wils power although it may sound beautiful at first is actually pretty gruesome when seen in action. No, not everything that glitters is gold & pretty! I still have this one scene in my head that was very descriptive & left me contorting my face & literally shaking my head NO! (yes, yes I am a scaredy cat) & yet I REALLY enjoyed her writing LOL! I kept flinching whenever she came into close contact with another person in fear she’d turn them into a giant ruby, trust me it isn’t pretty. The character relationships were my favorite & even the King in the North managed to make me question whether he was always that cold. Speaking as a person who deals with OCD, I found the Queen to be extremely relatable with compulsions I myself carry out on the daily. I will most certainly continue on with this series & highly recommend to those looking for a strong & fresh take on a tale as old as time 😉

*HUGE Thanks to Balzer + Bray/Harper, Edelweiss, and Lauren DeStefano for the eGalley copy of The Glass Spare in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Bookworms! what are some of your favorite myths/legends/stories you’d like to see given a modern twist? Does The Glass Spare intrigue you? I’ll be picking up my finished copy this Tuesday the 24th & sending a quick wish to the Book Gods that the wait for the sequel isn’t long 😉

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WWW Wednesday 10/18/2017

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently 40% into Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen & OMYGOSH Bookworms!!! It’s too early for me to start gushing about this book but it’s SO GOOD! I’ve had so many fellow bookworms read my status updates on Goodreads & get just as excited that I’m reading Nyxia. Beautifully diverse in such an interesting setting, Nyxia leaves you wondering what if we could all understand each others different languages. The most fascinating aspect of this book is that each character who signed up to venture to the newly habitable planet of Eden, is able to understand each other through a facial translator of sorts. The characters themselves are quickly becoming faves but never have I grown this attached to a male MC!!! I think I found the ONE! more to come on that 😉

On Monday I finished The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) by Lauren DeStefano which I believe to be a very solid start to this new YA Fantasy. I’ve already written my review which goes live tomorrow morning & can’t wait to chat with you about. I knew I had to throw my hat in the ring for this galley when I read the synopsis & got from it that this is at its heart a genderbend version of King Midas and the Golden Touch. As a kid I was always fascinated by stories & myths but I was always down to hear about King Midas. The Glass Spare was a hit in my book (jeje) & now I start my watch for the sequel with bated breath lol 🙂

Since I am desperately playing catch up with arcs after having a disastrous September with family (discussed in my September wrap-up), I am doubling up & powering through some October new releases. I’m pretty sure I’ll be done with Nyxia either by tonight or tomorrow morning. I plan on starting the following 2 titles next, both of which I’m beyond super excited for! they are very different from each other which is great because I have a ton of Fantasy titles to read after & the change of pace keeps me from genre burn-out haha. I’ve heard nothing but GREAT things for both of these titles, especially You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins which is a multi-generational YA Contemporary, take a look at those accolades down below bookworms! & Berserker by Emmy Laybourne truly appeals to my love for all thing Norse mythology, I have a feeling I’m going to love it 🙂


BERSERKER (BERSERKER #1) by EMMY LAYBOURNE

Are Hanne’s powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?

Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It’s not Stieg’s fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit.

No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous “gift”–she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.

Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.

Will they be able to reach their uncle, the one man Hanne believes may be able to teach her how to control her drive to kill? With Berserker, Emmy Laybourne, the author of Monument 14, presents her vision of an American west studded with Viking glory.


YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR by MITALI PERKINS

Nominated for the National Book Award | Six starred reviews: ★ Horn Book ★ School Library Journal ★ Publishers Weekly ★ Booklist ★ Shelf Awareness ★ VOYA

Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve Bengal tigers and her Bengali identity–award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3’s!


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#ARCstravaganza #10

#ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Flavia over @Flavia the Bibliophile where book bloggers/bookstagrammers have a chance to show off their ARCs/eARCs/Galleys!

Hello Readers! This is my 10th week participating in #ARCstravaganza Monday & this week I’ve chosen Renegades (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer which is one of my highly anticipated books of 2017! Meyer is a auto-buy author for me at this point, I enjoyed her writing & fresh take in the Lunar Chronicles & have high hopes for the next chapter in this authors journey. Renegades will follow a new story line, set of characters, and world. I’ve tried my hardest to stay away from early reviews on Goodreads but I did see mention of the main character being half Filipino which is automatically a plus in my book & on this blog. I guess what I’m also very excited to see is the villain Meyer has conjured up this time. Levana is still top 5 evil for me & I’m curious to see if there will be a new villain in town to dethrone her. Also, superhero powers are my Achilles Heel & no I can’t resist these stories, truth be told they take up the majority of my shelves.

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From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer, comes a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

What are some ARCS/eGalleys you’re excited to have Bookworms? are you a fan of Marissa Meyer? looking forward to Renegades? sound off in the comments below 🙂


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Gush Review: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Title: Moxie

Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Pub. Date: September 19th, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary/Feminism

Publisher:  Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Pages: 330

Formats: eGalley

Trigger warning: Sexual harassment & attempted rape

    

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu but what I got was all around awesomeness cover to cover! If you are a feminist such as myself, picking up this book is almost a no brainer but even if you’re not, this may be the book to change that. Much like our MC Vivianne, I was witness to many of the sexist games played by the opposite sex that are seen as harmless. Viv lives in a small town & attends the local High School where the schools Football team is the center of town life. Everyone down to the teachers & principal give the football team  much favoritism. This led to the blind acceptance of their treatment towards the females in the school & Viv has had enough.

Grabbing inspiration from her mother’s box of Zines where she’s stored memories of her Feminist activist days, Viv sets out to bring change to her school. She decides that anonymity is probably best in a school where the captain of the football teams father is also the Principal. What starts off as a Zine left inside the girls bathroom stalls, snowballs into a feminist movement no one in their small town Texas school would’ve imagined. We follow Viv as she slowly builds up her confidence & finds her voice through a movement she names Moxie. We see girls from all cliques start to answer the call to take a stand against age old “traditions” that are degrading to the females in the school.

Although most of the action takes place in Viv’s High School, we do also get to see her home life. Having lost her father at a very young age, it’s just her & her mom. I loved seeing Viv admire her mom without her knowing & how organic their relationship translated on to the page. There are also some really strong female friendships giving Viv the validation she needs to know she is doing the right thing. Moxie is all about fighting back the tired ideologies of women needing to behave “lady-like” or proper. It strengthens & uplifts women coming together & how powerful that can be.

Illustration from Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Our MC Vivianne is not at all the person you see portrayed on the cover of this book, not at first anyway. She loves listening to her moms stories of growing up and fighting back the patriarchy. Quietly wishing she had the courage to do something about the jocks and administration in her school who think it’s ok to objectify girls/women. Viv’s character development felt authentic for a teenager living in a small town in Texas. She didn’t voice her opinions right away, she found her voice within the other girls in her school. Viv is hands down a fave character for me because every time she felt like throwing in the towel she didn’t & instead came back harder! Viv’s mom is legit one of the coolest & hardest working moms I’ve come across in YA. She’s a nurse working long hours but who also has an amazing relationship with her daughter. She may not know it but she is also the source of inspiration for Viv creating Moxie. Viv’s grand-parents live next door & we often seem them around dinner time. LOVED the inclusion of grand-parents since that is very rare in YA books. Better yet, the fact that Viv loves them so much and can equally accept her own frustration at their old school mentality made her all the more relatable. A place of comfort for Viv, the scenes with her grand-parents gave the book a homely feel.

Lucy is the not quite so new girl but still pretty new to the school. She is taken aback by the things allowed from the male students having come from a more progressive school/city. At times she also gave Viv the motivation she needed to keep Moxie going all the while not knowing Viv was its creator. Seth plays the new guy in school & fits the mold of quiet-loner-mysterious-guy but there’s more than meets the eye with him. I was pleasantly surprised with Seth but I’ll be vague because I consider that spoilery. The Moxie Girls are not just from different cliques, they are also diverse in skin color and ethnicity. The inclusivity promoted by Viv spreads like wildfire throughout the school encouraging many to join. LOVED seeing the diversity bringing girls together to bring change!

Can you tell I LOVED Moxie to pieces?!?! I couldn’t flip through the pages fast enough, easily a 2017 top fave for the empowering message it sends across. United, girls/women are a force to be reckoned with! We don’t have very many books like these encouraging girls to stand together & fight for their rights. As I am writing this review, Twitter is ablaze with the mess that is Harvey Weinstein & the brave soul that is Rose Mcgowan standing up to an industry known for covering up sexual harassment. My first thought was, how appropriate that I am writing this review now. We need more Vivianne’s & Rose McGowans rallying the troops of women, together we are stronger & won’t be silenced. I cannot recommend Moxie enough to Feminists & those who have yet to find their voice…we all have Moxie in us 💪🏽

*HUGE Thanks to Macmillan, Netgalley, and Jennifer Mathieu for the galley of Moxie in exchange for an honest review. The physical arc pictured below I won from a Twitter giveaway.

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Some Sites Jennifer Mathieu included in her Author Note:

Feministing.com

rookiemag.com

bitchmedia.org

bust.com

thefbomb.org

scarleteen.com

therepresentationproject.org


Can you see yourself as a member of Moxie? I sure can! are there any lovely bookworms who’ve read Moxie or plan to? sound off in the comments below <3’s! 


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WWW Wednesday 10/11/2017

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

*I started Moxie yesterday & am currently 53% head over heels in LOVE with this book! trying to stop myself from inhale reading it has been a challenge. The MC Viv is someone who knows she wants to be a part of the change needed in her school but fears being ostracized. Her mother is her inspiration for the creation of Moxie, a “zine” aka magazine calling all girls to stand united against the sexism & misogyny widely accepted in her school. Best part: getting to see the Zines Viv creates, LIVING for the illustrations! ❤ review to come this week.

On Monday I finished & reviewed the EPIC time traveling adventure that was Invictus by Ryan Graudin (my review). If ever I were to have a checklist of things I’d like to see in a YA Sci-fi book, Invictus sure came close to meeting them all. Fun, well paced, amazing characters you can’t help but get attached to…sigh…I miss this crew so MUCH!!! *sobs* while I wait for Graudin to bless us with news of ANYTHING else set in this world, I’ll console myself by reading her other books 🙂

A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

Next I’ll be reading The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) by Lauren DeStefano. I was lucky enough to get a Galley from Harper & can’t wait to dive in. From the synopsis I’ve gathered that this is sort of inspired by King Midas and his golden touch. I’ve also heard mention of mental health & disability rep being included in this story which makes this a MUST READ for me. 


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3’s!


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GUSH Review! Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Title: Invictus

Author: Ryan Graudin

Pub. Date: September 26th, 2017

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publisher:  Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Pages: 464

Formats: eGalley & physical ARC

    

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

Since finishing up Invictus I’ve gone on a Ryan Graudin video binge on Youtube…this is when I KNOW I love a book! when I can’t let it gooooo! *cue Elsa/Frozen*  well in one of these videos Graudin mentions getting inspiration from Dr. Who and Fire Fly. These are shows I’ve only watched in passing & that now have immense curiosity for after finishing this book. Time travel alone has always intrigued me in Sci-Fi & that’s probably because I love History so much that the idea of traveling back to ancient Rome was SUPER appealing. We get introduced to our MC Farway Gaius McCarthy as he preps to take his final SIM exam to determine whether he is Recorder material. You only get 1 shot to pass this exam & failure means expulsion. Things go haywire during his SIM & Farway is given the boot from the academy. Being the best of the best, Farway knows his exam was tampered with however he has no real way of proving it. Faced with the reality of having all of his dreams of one day commanding his own time travel machine & crew taken away, Farway is quick to accept a offer from a Boss in the black market.

The opportunity: to man his own time travel machine in exchange for his services stealing valuable pieces from the past that will not be missed.

Translation: Stealing valuable pieces that won’t alter history & in turn alert the time travel police.

Farway of course gathers his most trusted friends from the academy and forms his crew to carry out these heists through different periods in time. When I think of my experience reading Invictus, the first word that comes to mind is FUN! popping in & out of time, wearing period fitting costumes, stealing ancient items all the while trying to stay incognito was insanely fun! Besides the awesome plot we get this great set of characters you can’t help but get attached to. I feel Graudin accomplished exactly what she said she set out to do with this crew & that was making them feel like home. By the end of the book I could tell you who was who blindfolded & that just made my reading experience all the more better. In terms of plot pacing I wouldn’t say it was fast paced however, there was never a time something wasn’t happening with one of the characters. There are also elements of parallel universes which I’ll be the first to admit intimidated the hell out of me however, I was able to follow the madness without having to double back haha!

Farway- at the top of his class, he knows he is destined for time travel. He is also well known for being born outside of times parameters. His mother is a Recorder of much fame garnering recognition for her many achievements. The truth about Faraways conception however is one well kept secret. Faraway wants nothing more than to follow in his mother’s footsteps in hopes that it will lead him back to her (trying to be vague here lol). It’s hard not to like Farway, he’s great with his friends aka crew and isn’t scared to take some risks for the sake of time travel 😉

Imogen- I LOVE THIS GIRL! I mean, who wouldn’t love a character who wakes up every day & colors her hair in with different colored chalk? 😂 funny, sweet, always positive, & loves her cousin Farway to pieces! She also keeps a Red Panda fur baby she named Safron who is feisty & offered up a couple of laughs along the way. Imogen is also the Historian on the crew & is in charge of researching the time periods they’ve been sent to steal from in order to dress them all accordingly.

Gram- you can find Gram at his station playing with his rubix cube & or computations to make sure they land in the exact time period desired. He is the Engineer who double majored as a recorder & basically I saw him as a Jack of all Trades. Gram is also a POC & I was glad to see this brought up by him seeing as time traveling may take them to places that would put him in danger. Gram is a very quiet character with a high IQ & the few times he was off the Invictus to aid in a mission I really enjoyed (hope to see more of this).

Priya- The medic on board & also resident beat master, Priya is known for compiling epic playlists. Her spicy Chai tea keeps everyone going & when she isn’t jamming to her tunes she can be found either patching up one of the crew members with stitches OR lending her mechanic skills to the maintenance of the Invictus.

Eliot- This character is SUPER mysterious & carries with her many truths. At first she annoyed the hell out of me but I came around to appreciate her resourcefulness. Without saying too much about this character for fear of spoilers, I will say that she kept things very interesting on board. As the source of Farways frustration I thought Graudin was writing her in as a love interest however, I’m so glad that isn’t the case & that her role is way more interesting than that.

I loved this cast of characters & the dynamic they brought to the page on board the Invictus. Although we don’t get a ton of time to delve deep into each one, I felt Graudin gave us enough to get to know them for their quirks & personalities. If you loved the cast of characters in Gemina, then chances are you’ll also love this crew 😉

Many of my book blogging buddies have recommended Graudin’s books & until now sadly I hadn’t picked one up. I’m so glad I finally listened & found a new favorite. This was a almost 500 page book and yet it didn’t drag & actually left me flipping for more pages knowing very well that I had reached the end LOL! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED the ending & how everything led up to what isn’t necessarily a happy ending but one full of hope…these are always the best in my opinion. I haven’t seen any news of a sequel however, it was left with plenty of room to expand which again leaves me oh so hopeful! haha. In the mean time I have my imagination to conjure up ideas of where this crew could possibly be headed next, although not as good as Graudin, it will have to do 😉

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*HUGE Thanks to Little Brown Books, Netgalley, and Ryan Graudin in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Bookworms! I’m hoping some of you out there have already read & loved Invictus cuz I am really trying not to fall into a book hangover & need some support lol! who was your fave character? better yet, do you know if Graudin is in her lair writing us a sequel? *fingers crossed*


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September Wrap-Up & Book Haul

Happy Tuesday in Fall Bookworms! I friggin LOVE this beautiful season to pieces but I can’t write a wrap-up without mentioning recent events that hit close to home. September wasn’t a easy month to get through with Hurricane Maria affecting the island of Puerto-Rico where one half of my family lives. That being said, I have a pretty pro-active family doing everything possible to make sure we are doing our part in helping and providing for our loved ones. Hoping for a much better tomorrow as our family here in New York continue to send relief in hopes that the basic needs are met. The world is hurting & I know I myself can’t turn a blind eye, it has definitely weighed heavy in my heart & thoughts each & every night. Reading has always provided a sense of comfort but once disaster hit, for the first time in a long time I had no desire to read at all. It took me about 2 weeks to get through my 6th book of the month Girls Made of Snow and Glass. I chose to push through seeing as it was the only thing allowing my mind to pull back a bit from the sadness. Fantasy will always be one of my top favorite genres for its very nature asks that you suspend belief in reality which was much needed. The stories I read this month only helped booster my need to help & do more. Heroines like Mira Minkoba from Before She Ignites helped me be more aware of my own anxiety & triggers when faced with a issue that seems like it can swallow you whole. This month has showed me the strength in family unity (ups & downs) and I have hope we can come back stronger than ever…

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ★★★★ 

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows ★★★★1/2

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett ★★★1/2

Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast ★★★★1/2

Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor ★★★★★

Runaways #1 by Rainbow Rowell & illustrated by Kris Anka (no review for this 1st issue, will be reviewing trade paperback of Vol 1 when it’s released)

These weren’t small books my friends, I didn’t intentionally set out to read 400+ pg books but that’s exactly what happened lol. This is why I had to throw in a novella and a comic. Besides being thick books, they were also very slow paced (all of them) which contributed to the docking of stars. I love character driven stories which is probably why I still really enjoyed all of my reads. Night of Cake & Puppets let me re-visit some of my fave characters with the addition of awesome illustrations. Runaways managed to seriously stir my curiosity for this comic run, I’m already signed up with Comixology to receive each issue as they are released. Girls Made of Snow and Glass has to be the freshest most unique re-telling I’ve ever read. Before She Ignites gave us our first MC in YA Fantasy with anxiety & OCD. Zero Repeat Forever was so sad bookworms! *sobs* LOVED IT! & lastly, Even the Darkest Stars had potential however it fell victim to its Mountain setting. All in all, a quality reading month 😉

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Snot Girl: Green Hair Don’t Care Volume 1

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff (no, I haven’t read Nevernight but I have every intention of doing so & Bookdepository is notorious for selling out of these editions *sobs* lol)

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (gift from who who listened to me RAVE about this book every single time I put it down lol)

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas (a gift from my hubby who has already read & rated this installment 4 stars…he’s stingy with the stars so this is a good sign)

Wonder Woman (DC Comics #1) by Leigh Bardugo 

Warcross by Marie Lu

September Owlcrate

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Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1) by Jodi Meadows

September Book of the Month

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Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (my pick for the month, the other 2 were add-ons)

The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo  (a gift from my Soul twin Gretchen over at @ChicNerdReads, she’ll be making her return to book blogging this week so YAY!)

OHMYGOSH-THIS-SHOW!!!! I legit didn’t know just how much I LOVE Jason Bateman till’ I binge watched Ozark! for those who are fans of Breaking Bad this is one you’re going to want to watch. The pilot episode was ominous and slow yet I knew I’d be watching the 2nd episode to see where it was going. Marty Byrde played by Bateman comes across as if he were on auto-pilot after a life changing event puts him & his family in a very sticky dangerous situation. Unraveling bit by bit it almost feels as if our MC will lose it any minute but he perseveres. Laura Linney who plays his wife is a character who grew on me, I did not love her from the start but grew to appreciate her later on. I’ve always been attracted to stories set in small towns & the characters they produce, in Ozark everyone has their own agenda. I don’t want to give anything away, part of what makes this series so good is the mystery that surrounds it.  There are many jaw dropping moments & an ending to knock your socks off lol.

Happy reading in October Bookworms!!! October is already setting itself up to be a good Bookish month with some FAB reads. Comic Con later this week should be fun, let me know if you’d like a post on my 2 days there. Also, if you’ve read or watched any of these? drop your comments down below <3’s!


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The Fall Book Tag!

Sundays seem to be the best time for a tag & since it’s finally beginning to feel like sweater weather, what better tag than The Fall Book Tag created by Shanah over at Bionic Book Worm! Shanah has a wonderful blog I’ve found to be a MUST VISIST! whenever I blog hop, with such creative content, book reviews, and book discussions there’s something for everyone 🙂

The rules:

  • Please link back to Bionic Book Worm, as the creator of this tag!! She wants to see your answers!!
  • Use the graphics – if you want 🙂
  • Have fun!

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera…by now if you aren’t new to my blog chances are you know my love for Silvera runs DeeeeP! haha! & even though all of his book are notorious for their ability to rip your heart out & tear it to shreds…TBDATE with it’s Sci-Fi element took a different approach by giving you the inevitable outcome in its title. Yes, they do both die at the end but that’s not what this story is about at its core. Uniquely told it will keep you flipping pages while fearing the inevitable til’ the very end. I wrote a Gush Review here.

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Scwab & I’m guessing many of you who have already read this one may be giving me all sorts of raised eyebrows lol. The ending did leave me a sobbing mess but I seriously DID NOT see any of it coming! I can’t go into details because this is a sequel in a du-ology but *round of applause* to Schwab because although it devestated me, I now can’t see it ending any other way. I have a spoiler free review here.

I just finished reading Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor & OHMYGOSH Bookworms!!!! I’m not big into romance or easily get the fuzzies for any of the love scenes I’ve come across in the books I digest. That being said, Zuzana & Mike’s love story had me smiling all throughout! I’m talkin’ school girl moments of “awwwww” & “omg I wish my first date was this cute” haha! what makes this even more odd is that as much as I’m not into romance, neither is Zuzana & so seeing her outside of her comfort zone was like I was doing so right along with her. I have a GUSH review for this novella here, it follows book 2 in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. It does not spoil the trilogy & can be read alone, it will however spike your interest in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy 😉

This one actually made me giggle lol. So in Shanah’s tag she mentions Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi as being one that she’s been talking about quite a bit. Whelp! it’s my pick for this prompt because I’ve been eyeing it these past couple of days to get my Diverse Fiction fill for the mth. I went as far as ordering the U.K. edition some time last year & it’s SOOOOO BEAUTIFUL! High time I get to this book so thank you Shanah for the bit of encouragement your tag has given me <3!

Recently I had the opportunity to read & review a eGalley copy of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee (review herewhich was so much fun! for fans of the Percy Jackson series, this is the book for you. For those looking to diversify their reading, Genie Lo is inspired from the Chinese tale of the Monkey King. I LOVED the humor & action in this book and I’m looking forward to more from this author 🙂

 

Hands down the honor goes to The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden  which is the sequel to last years favorite The Bear and the Nightingale (see my review here). I was thrilled to be granted access to a eGalley & now I wait for the perfect Fall/Winter night to start this atmospheric lush read *eeeeK*

 

 


I TAG…

Larkin @WonderfilledReads

Beth @ReadingEveryNight

Sofii @A Book. A Thought

Darque Dreamer Reads

Sarah @TheCleverReader

Kourtni @KourtniReads

Kelly @KellysRambles

Fernanda @TheWanderlustReader

Sophie @BlameChocolate

No pressure to those I’ve tagged & if anyone else who comes across this post would like to participate please feel free to join in on the fun. Fall is my favorite season and this tag is a nice way to welcome the season on my blog 🙂 Happy Reading Bookworms! ❤ < 3 ❤


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Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Pub. Date: September 5th, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-telling/LGBT

Publisher:  Flatiron Books

Pages: 384

Formats: eGalley

   

*Opted to leave out the Goodreads Synopsis this time as I usually do whenever it’s too spoilery. With so many unique twists, this is one you’ll enjoy unraveling yourself sans the blurb 😉

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is THE modern Snow White  re-telling I’ve been waiting for since the day I realized I didn’t need a Prince Charming to come rescue me on a horse. When I started questioning fairy tales & the incompetence of Kings all the while they had a kick a** intelligent Queen sitting on the sidelines. With an almost entirely female cast, GMOSAG gives the classic fairy tale a unique and fresh spin that will leave you feeling empowered by the very last page. Perhaps most importantly it shatters the clichéd belief that women in leadership roles cannot co-exist. In our cast we get a new Queen to a widowed King, a female Surgeon in service to the King, and a court council run by women. The men in this re-telling play the role of secondary characters.

Told in third person POV, we get both Mina (new Queen) & Lynet’s (King’s daughter) stories in past and present times. Mina’s story unfolds in an earlier time when she first met the King at the age of 16 & decided she wanted to be Queen. Living in a village with her Magician father has been no easy feat, feared by the townspeople in the South for her father’s abilities. Mina herself is walking talking proof of his abilities. Having died & been brought back to life with a heart made out of glass, Mina has been raised by her father to believe she neither has the power to love or be loved & that her beauty is her only asset. Mina however proves to be resourceful & intelligent, always observing human behavior. She studies the King and soon realizes that his daughter is all that he cares about. Never once did she expect to get attached to the Kings young daughter Lynet or what that could potentially spell for her future as the present Queen. We follow Mina as she helps raise Lynet from toddler to young adult all the while thinking that their future rivalry is inevitable.

Each of these characters came to life on the page. Well fleshed out, complex, and flawed they rope you into this cold tale of love, loss, grief, and ultimately defining what family is to you…

Mina- I love my villains, they often bring the most meat to a story & such is the case with Mina. She comes from the South where everything is warm and lush with life & the transition to Whitsespring castle in the North is the total opposite. This however doesn’t stop her from fulfilling the role of Queen & stepmother to young Lynette. Although she lacks a beating heart, a part of her wants so badly to feel loved. Her marriage to the king isn’t what she expected but she never once takes it out on Lynette. I don’t want to give away too much but this is one character I really enjoyed seeing develop. She isn’t the evil Frost Queen we all come to expect from fairy tales but I can appreciate that since women in  power are already thought of as Frost Queens in real life & I can do w/out that in my books 😉 

The King- My least favorite of the characters for oh so many reasons! but the biggest one being that he’s down right selfish. Yes, he’s a wonderful doting father but once you read this book you’ll see a man who just couldn’t let go.

Lynet- Besides Mina, I actually really enjoyed Lynet’s character. She knows her father sees her late mother in her & that he’s raising her to one day be Queen. Trying to fill her mother’s shoes however isn’t something she wants. Far from it, Lynet enjoys scaling castle walls & s spying on people…particularly the new Surgeon *smiles* there’s also more to Lynet than meets the eye but that would be spoilery so I’ll leave you to find out that interesting secret on your own 🙂

Nadia- new surgeon in service to the crown, Nadia spends her days in her laboratory poring over her books. The friendship to romance progression with Lynet was on point! I was rooting for these two all along 🙂

The Magician aka Mina’s father- Adding this guy to my list of most hated villains of all time! I’m beginning to see a trend with Magicians being this nefarious. This man seriously takes the prize though! playing all his cards close to his chest, he is one to keep an eye on.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is easily one of my favorite Snow White re-tellings of all time. I was the kid who had no interest in Prince Charming. No, my interest was more with ingenuity…always asking why the princess had to wait in the tower instead of finding a way out. This is the Snow White story that I’ve been waiting for with messages of female empowerment & Queens that don’t need saving. I LOVED the fact that this was a mostly female comprised cast & that we got LGBTQIA+ representation. The only reason I docked GMOSAG 1 star is because of the very slow pacing all throughout. There aren’t fast paced action sequences, this is a story told primarily through dialogue and stream-of-consciousness. That being said, I was invested in these characters til the very end. The last line in this book is PURE PERFECTION!

*HUGE Thanks to Flatiron Books, Netgalley, and Melissa Bashardoust for the eGalley of Girls Made of Now and Ice in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor

Title: Night of Cake & Puppets

Author: Laini Taylor & illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Pub. Date: September 12th, 2017

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Formats: Physical ARC

    

In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first date—as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.

Night of Cake & Puppets is the novella that follows the 2nd book in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy which happens to be one of my TOP FAVE trilogies of all time! also the reason why I’ll read anything Laini Taylor writes….EVER! I first read this novella a few years back after reading the trilogy & still remember how much I ADORED it to pieces. When I heard through the Bookish Grapevine of an illustrated edition I knew I had to read in physical format. I’m so very happy to have received this ARC from the publisher, the illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo are ON POINT! he captures the humor & quirk of this beloved character & gives the best scenes in this novella an extra dose of magic. Di Bartolo is Laini’s husband & that perhaps makes him pretty much the perfect person to illustrate this story since I’m guessing he’s had some time to get to know these characters very well. I thoroughly enjoyed his illustrations & would love to see more of this collabo 🙂

Night of Cake & Puppets is a novella set in Prague, home to Karou and her BFF Zuzana. While Karou is off on a mission (no spoilers for the DOSAB trilogy) Zuzana is on a mission of her own: to capture the heart of Mik the Violinist or at the very least his kiss! 

Zuzana was an instant fave character for me because of her eccentricities, whenever I think of her the quote “Though she be little, she is fierce!” comes to mind. Just like her grandfather, Zuzana designs puppets that are very life-like as well as a bit creepy. She is a lover of all things strange, dark, and magical which makes her a perfect BFF to Karou who is all of these & more. It also manages to catch Miks attention who is working in the same stage play as Zuzana. Before Karou went off on her adventure aka scavenger hunt, she blessed Zuzana with 5 scuppies which will grant her 5 small wishes. With her scuppies for back-up, Zuzana sets out to plan the most romantic night ever sprinkled with a touch of magic.

Mik is one of the few male characters in YA that I LOVE & as such, the next time I get asked on a tag to choose a book BF (terrible memory), my pick will ALWAYS be MIK! ❤ ❤ ❤ he’s that person, the one that wishes they had a more exciting life & is just waiting for THE night that will catapult him into said life. When he first sees Zuzana, he admire her fierceness from afar but couldn’t bring himself to talk to her. Their awkward almost encounters started to increase & he was genuinely intrigued by the mystery surrounding her.

Zuzana concocts this plan for the night she’s chosen to make her feelings known to Mik but it’s going to take some participation & effort on his behalf as well lol. I was completely knocked off my feet, left smitten on the floor (not an easy feat) with this magical night from start to finish. Taylor pulls you in for the night taking you through the streets of Prague while it snows & these two complete opposites take part in their own scavenger hunt. I honestly think Laini Taylor’s pen is infused with magic & whatever she writes is destined to come to life on the page & the readers mind. Highly recommending Night of Cake & Puppets to everyone! although it would be ideal to have read the first two books in the Daughter & Smoke and Bone trilogy, it is not a pre-requisite. You will however probably end up wanting to know more about Zuzana’s mysterious friend Karou & how she comes about those magical scuppies haha! Also…there’s Cake 😉

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*HUGE Thanks to The NOVL/Little Brown Books & Laini Taylor for the Night of Cake and Puppets ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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