November Owlcrate & Book Of The Month

November was an exciting month for subscription boxes, I know I received exactly what I DID NOT predict lol..every month I go about guessing the book, yeah I know that it defeats the purpose but tell that to my curiosity *hides face*  November’s theme is Wonderland & it was the 1st month that the obvious new release was staring me in the face yet It was the last book to come to mind HAHA! they got me good lol. I recently read, reviewed, and loved Heartless by Marisa Meyer (review here). This was a nice surprise & again I must tip my hat off to Owlcrate for their AMAZING thoughtful curation, each month they surprise me with the items they include in their boxes. I also nabbed myself a 3 month subscription to Book Of The Month from Groupon (Sale still going) and my November selection was The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) by Tana French. I have been meaning to get to this series since January when I picked up Into The Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) while on a trip to Miami. From what I’ve read in reviews, the good thing about this series is that you don’t necessarily need to read them back to back since each book has a new set of characters and plot line. However, the characters in each new book are introduced in the previous book (if that makes any sense).

Owlcrate

fullsizerender

follow me @Lair_of_books

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Book Of The Month 

image2

follow me @ Lair_of_Books

The Trespasser by Tana French

Goodreads Synopsis:

A brilliant new novel from the New York Times bestselling author, whom Gillian Flynn calls “mesmerizing” and Stephen King calls “incandescent.”

Being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her—except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?

Do any of you subscribe to Book Of The Month? if so, which book did you go with this month? thoughts on the Owlcrate exclusive cover? yay or nay?

 

 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2213661The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Published by: HarperCollins

Date of Publication: September 30th 2008

Genres:

Pages: 312

Format: Audiobook (self-narrated)

Rating:★★★★ (4 Stars) 

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

 

The Audiobook Experience…

I’ll keep this one short and sweet since i’m beginning to believe that Uncle Gaiman can do no wrong when he begins to spin his tales. You would be sadly mistaken if you were to think that you can resist the magic of his worlds once they begin to reel you in. The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman is now the 2nd book i’ve read by this author and it has only served to cement my feelings towards him…I simply LOVE Uncle Gaiman! It has now become the norm for me to reach for the audiobook vs. physical or even digital format for Gaiman’s books. Treat Yo self to a feast for your ears & imagination with the audiobook narrated by Gaiman himself. Not only is his voice truly one of of the most soothing story telling voices i’ve come across but he also has a few other talents up his sleeve. Gaiman gave each of the characters in this book their own distinct voice without sounding over the top. I truly enjoyed listening to his audiobook and often found myself wanting to return to the graveyard at all hours of the day.

The book opens up right after the murder of a mother, father, and daughter. Baby Nobody Owens aka Bod, managed to crawl over his crib railing and out of the house, too little to know he had just escaped his families murderer. Bod wanders off into the street and eventually walks right into the cemetery where he meets all sorts of interesting characters  no longer of this world. The Owens, a married couple who were never able to conceive children of their own take to “adopting” Bod who is still a baby. They grant him full freedom of the cemetery  to wander off & also get Silas who is neither living or dead (believed to be a Vampire) to become his guardian. Together, the many characters in the graveyard, raise Bod and protect him from outside dangers by providing a safe home for him amongst the tombstones. We get to see Bod the baby grow into a young man who becomes curious about the outside world & experiencing it for himself. Just like any child his age, Bod gets into a bit of mischief (more like adventures lol) that teach him theres more than just the dead…there’s the living he has yet to experience. All the while, The Man Jack (Bod’s families murderer) is out and about looking to tie the loose ends of the night he intended to kill baby Bod in his crib.

The characters in The Graveyard Book all played a role in educating young Bod and keeping him safe. I thoroughly enjoyed The Owens as well as the other supporting ghosts Caius Pompeius and Scarlett Perkins to name some of my faves. I found out later on while blog hopping that some of the characters in Gaiman’s books crossover one way or another. In this book we get an appearance from a relative of Daisy Hempstock from Stardust, my 1st Gaiman & favorite thus far. With such descriptive story telling & imagery, Gaiman’s ghosts/characters will probably stick with me for many years to come. It really doesn’t matter what age you are, if you’re young at heart and are looking for a heartwarming story then The Graveyard Book is the book for you 😉

“Kiss a lover, 
Dance a measure, 
Find your name 
And buried treasure. 
Face your life, 
It’s pain, 
It’s pleasure, 
Leave no path untaken.” 
― Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book

Standalone Sunday

Happy Sunday Bookies!!! this is my 1st time participating in Megan@BookSlayerReads Standalone Sunday, a feature where you select a book (not part of a series) that you loved & would recommend to others. Super excited to be participating in Megan’s feature since i’ve been eyeing it for weeks & racking my brain for a good standalone I could post. It seems like lately series are the norm but I would love to get some more standalone’s read & this seems like a great source for motivation. On to this Sunday’s pick…

 

 

328854

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

 

Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: October 24th 2000

Page Count: 311

Genre: Fiction/Mystery-Crime

 

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lionel Essrog is Brooklyn’s very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent’s Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna’s limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel’s colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim’s widow skips town. Lionel’s world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head. Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation.

This week I chose Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem, a book that I read in college as part of my required reading. I didn’t know it then but this would go on to become one of my most favorite detective tales that has since stayed with me. I am hazy on many of the smaller details but I loved the narrator Lionel Essrog an orphan with Tourettes Syndrome & OCD. Lionel ends up working for Frank Minna (mobster) as muscle up until Frank is murdered. The book is narrated by Lionel & therefore you’ll get random bursts of his Tourettes as well as his need to count things as he sets out to solve the mystery of Frank’s murder. I fell in love with Lionel’s character & felt this need to see him be ok on his own. There are many heartfelt moments as well as humorous ones…straight out laugh out loud moments. I loved seeing Lionel navigate Brooklyn (my home sweet home lol), the borough isn’t portrayed in a positive light but I believe people have forgotten Brooklyn’s past before gentrification. I’d recommend Motherless Brooklyn to anyone who enjoys a good detective novel & wouldn’t mind being inside the mind of a person with Tourettes & OCD since it is narrated by the character with these mental disorders.

Quotes

“Tourette’s is just one big lifetime of tag, really. The world (or my brain—same thing) appoints me it, again and again. So I tag back. Can it do otherwise? If you’ve ever been it you know the answer.” 
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“Guilt wants to cover all the bases, be everywhere at once, reach into the past to tweak, neaten and repair. Guilt like Tourettic utterance flows uselessly, inelegantly from one helpless human to another, contemptuous of perimeters, doomed to be mistaken or refused on delivery.” 

― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“Prince’s music calmed me as much as masturbation or a cheeseburger.”

― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

The Playlist Shuffle Tag

Happy Thanksgiving ALL!!! I’ve been sick for the past week with a bad cold and asthma which is why i’ve been a bit M.I.A here on the blog. I’m honestly thankful to finally being able to breathe a bit better just in time for Thanksgiving with the family. I’m also very thankful for this wonderful community of bloggers that welcomed me into the blogosphere 6 months ago today. Seriously Ladies & Gents, you all are AMAZING human beings that can turn any bad day into a good one just by me opening my WordPress app. I am thankful for all of the comments that remind me there are people out there reading my shared thoughts, the likes & the shares on Twitter…it feels so good to finally connect with people who get my love for all things books & have taken the time out to get to know the gal behind the screen. Now, on to the tag lol…

Anne from InkedBrownies tagged me & stated the reason as “because I can’t help but wonder what’s coming through those earphones in her profile picture!  This alone had me raising a brow in question of which headphones she was referring to. Whelp in my profile pic I had headphones & I’ve just changed my profile pic this morning only to realize that my headphones make an appearance in this new photo as well LMAO! I was also tagged by Danielle at Booksvertigoandtea, funny thing Danielle that you would list a Beatles song as 1 of your 12 cuz I struggled finding my FAVORITE Beatles song on Youtube & therefore left it out—>Come Together is a song I listen to daily & always comes up no matter how many times I shuffle, it knows I love it so much lol. If you’re not already following these lovely gals, please do I guarantee they will only brighten up your Reader 😉

Tag Rules:

  1. List the first 10 12 songs that come on shuffle (no skipsies)
  2. Then write your favorite lyric (or verse) from that song *if it’s worth to mention*
  3. Tag others

Disclaimer—I am all over the place with my music & can easily go from singing my heart out over a ballad to full out failed attempts at dancing like Shakira *no shame in my game* 

untitled-3

#1 Shakira-La Tortura Reggaeton Remix

No pido que todos los días sean de sol

No pido que todos los viernes sean de fiesta

Tampoco te pido que vuelvas rogando perdón

Si lloras con los ojos secos

Y hablando de ella

 

#2 Blues Traveler-Run Around (this man & his harmonica bring back so many memories of Summer road trips to Upstate NY with my Uncle & cousins)

And I’ll lie too and say I don’t mind

And as we seek so shall we find

And when you’re feeling open I’ll still be here

But not without a certain degree of fear

Of what will be with you and me

I still can see things hopefully

*for any Roseanne fans, you may have seen Blues Traveler on the show a few times since he made several appearances 🙂

 

#3 Emeli Sandé-My Kind Of Love (Redone and Alex P Remix) 

‘Cause when you given up

When no matter what you do, it’s never good enough

When you never thought that it could ever get this tough

That’s when you feel my kind of love

 

#4 Amy Winehouse-You Know I’m No Good

I cheated myself

Like I knew I would

I told ya I was troubled

You know that I’m no good

I cheated myself

Like I knew I would

I told ya I was troubled

Yeah, ya know that I’m no good

 

#5 J Balvin feat. Pharell Williams, BIA, Sky-Safari

Doesn’t matter when or where this song comes on, i’m rolling windows down & busting a move lol

 

#6 Nas Featuring Amy Winehouse-Cherry Wine

I want someone who like the champagne I like

My a-alike, someone to talk me off the bridge any day or night

She teach me how to live, she ain’t afraid of life

Not easily impressed with the rich and famous life

Cause she done been there and heard all the rumors before

 

#7 Duffy-Syrup & Honey

Don’t you be wastin’ all your money

On syrup and honey because I’m sweet enough

Don’t you be usin’ every minute on makin’ a livin’

Because we got our love

 

#8 Adele-Send My Love (To Your New Lover)

Send my love to your new lover

Treat her better

We gotta let go of all of our ghosts

We’ve both know we ain’t kids no more

 

#9 Kehlani-Gangsta (from Suicide Squad Soundtrack)

OBSESSED with this soundtrack as a whole!

 

#10 Mary J. Blige featuring Smif ‘N’ Wesson- I Love You (Remix)

 

#11 Florence + The Machine-Shake It Out

And every demon wants his pound of flesh

But I like to keep some things to myself

I like to keep my issues strong

It’s always darkest before the dawn

Oh Florence…this song is always on heavy rotation on my playlist. I have 3 of her albums & can’t go a day w/out listening to those vocals.

 

#12 Mary J. Blige-Someone To Love Me feat Diddy & Lil Wayne (Oh Man! if this were an old school record I would’ve burned right through it!)

The war’s I’ve fought, scars that I’ve garnered

The hustle, I got that honest from my father

Mix me with violence, blend me with peace

Combine me with hate and I can’t face defeat (nope)

I did it all in a week

Still incomplete as I stand on my feet

It take a lot to still dance to the beat

Skin more cold and callous than concrete

 

I tag all who are interested in doing this tag, I had a blast with this one! I love tags that make me laugh while completing them. I laughed at how random I can be with my music taste & when picking my favorite lyrics I also had a few moments of deep thought. This tag was fun & I could kick myself for hesitating on doing it cuz I don’t know about ya’ll but my playlist is an extension of me & that can get personal real quick LMAO! No regrets here though so thanks Anne & Danielle! 😉

 

 

Review: Fractured by Catherine McKenzie

29477965Fractured by Catherine McKenzie

Publisher: Lake Union

Publication Date: October 4th 2016

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Genre: Suspense/Mystery

Page Count: 360 pgs

Rating: ★★★★ (3.75)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course.

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.

*I’d like to thank Lake Union for approving me to receive an eGalley of Fractured by Catherine Mckenzie via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT

Fractured is the 2nd mystery/suspense novel I’ve read this year in which I was unsure whether one of the main protagonists was a unreliable narrator or not. This novel kept me in the dark for almost the entirety of the book with incredible build up. Formatted in past & present tense, Fractured is narrated by Julie Prentice who is the newly moved in neighbor & John Dunbar who has resided in the close-knit neighborhood all his life. This book gave me such Stepford/Desperate Housewives feels & I wasn’t complaining since I loved the movie & tv show. I will say that any time I read or watch anything that takes place in a suburban community, I am always left feeling creeped out and thankful for my city and the neighbors who couldn’t be bothered to watch my coming’s & going’s HAHA! So, Julie Prentice who is looking to start a new life far away from her stalker decides to move to Cincinnati with her husband and twins. Julie has had much success from her debut thriller The Murder Game based loosely on old law school games she used to play with her law school buddies. “The Book” as Julie refers to it, runs parallel to her own life with many similarities between her and The Book’s protagonist Meredith. In “The Book”, someone is murdered and it just so happens that within Julie’s circle of real life law school buddies, someone was murdered while they were all at a frat-like party many years ago. Now a well known debut author with rising fame, Julie is used to all of the rumors swirling around The Murder Game aka “The Book” except that her stalker isn’t just some random Jane. Julie’s stalker actually attended the same law school & claims to know the truth. Julie struggles with depression & is a recovering alcoholic. Her transition into the new neighborhood is awkward from the very beginning & unfortunately only takes a downward spiral after a series of encounters with some of the neighbors (cue The Stepford Wives jeje). John Dunbar is the first to befriend Julie over a mutual love for morning runs. They develop a friendship since he’s a work-from-home dad & she an author with a deadline for book 2. In a community where every move is watched & reported, a friendship like theirs is sure to stir up some talk. However, it is the decisions they make that put into effect a series of life changing events. Since this is a Mystery/Suspense novel I don’t want to go to in depth. I went in blind like I do with most mystery/suspense novels & I think it works best with Fractured.
 

CHARACTERS

Since this book is told by Julie & John both in past and present tense, we get to see a mixture of old and new friends for each of these characters. Their family set-up is almost identical except for that Julie’s twins are I believe around 5 or 6 years of age and John has two teens. They are both married and their spouses work coincide with one another. Everyone is connected one way or another and everything is treated as public knowledge with very little room for privacy. We get introduced to some of the neighbors who under the leadership of one of the residents, have formed a committee. The leader of the committee throughout the book sends out these memos updating & revising (more like adding) the policies (rules) for the neighborhood and monthly block party which served to insert some humor into this book. I found myself thinking how it could be possible for all of the neighbors to follow these rules without protest but chucked it off to group thinking. The neighborhood as a whole down to some of the teens were pretty intense and very quick to pass judgment on Julie. The giph below perfectly describes how I pictured the women of Mount Adams would look at Julie every time there was a so called “incident” on their street. Most of the time I disliked the way the other women were towards Julie but there were some occasions that made me raise a brow. John I wasn’t too fond of at all, he came across as weird in a gross way and cowardly. Catherine McKenzie gave us two very complex protagonists & for that I am thankful since I like my characters roughly shaped LOL. 
3o7tkrjksvaizqvcww

THOUGHTS

I read Fractured in a fairly short amount of time which usually means that I enjoyed what I was reading, and I did. I was desperately trying to figure out what exactly happened and didn’t see that ending coming at all. I especially enjoyed the formatting of the chapters in past & present tense counting down to the final present hour. It all felt like flashbacks and you the reader get the full picture of how exactly the cookie came to crumble. There were certain things that played key roles in Julie’s life that I wish weren’t so easily tucked away (won’t say what due to spoilers) & some questions from her past that lingered in my mind. Overall though, this was an enjoyable read. What I loved most about reading Fractured had to be Catherine McKenzie’s writing style, which means I will definitely be looking into her other books. If you’re looking for the next suspense filled mystery novel this one is sure to hold you in it’s grasp till the very last page 😉

 

P.S. It aint a block party if the punch aint spiked! BAHAHAHA! 

Waiting On Wednesday 


Title: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons Series)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Book: Hardcover, 304 pages

Expected Publication: August 29th, 2017

Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

The highly anticipated coming-of-age story for the world’s greatest super hero: WONDER WOMAN by the # 1 New York Times bestselling author LEIGH BARDUGO.
She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at @ Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

REASONS

Let’s preface this with I AM COMPLETELY UNABLE TO NOT READ ANYTHING BARDUGO PUTS OUT! haha! I am so happy that DC has tasked her with the unbelievably tough challenge that will be Wonder Woman. As a female myself, I want to see Diana Prince/Wonder Woman done right & who better than The Queen Of Dark herself? am I right? I’ve always been a big fan of the Amazons & wondered why they are covered so scarcely. We recently saw Gal Gadot tackle the role of Wonder Woman in Batman Vs. Superman. I’ll admit, I had my doubts she would pull it off. She silenced my doubts though & for that I am thankful because now we get to see more of her on the big screen. Now more than ever, I want to see the same success in this book. For some reason Wonder Woman has been a character that many have feared taking on. The general feeling was (maybe still is) that whoever took on that project, would have the responsibility of doing it justice. Why? because women of all ages & generations will be watching. The boys have their pick of the litter when it comes to superheroes but us gals have very few & Diana is a classic 😉

P.S. last but NOT least…Helen Of Troy’s descendant is in this book?!?!?! YES PLEASSSSSSE! 

Are any of you looking forward to the 1st book in the DC Icons Series? What are your thoughts on Leigh Bardugo writing Wonder Woman? 

Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

18584855

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: November 8th 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Re-telling

Page Count: 464 pages

Rating: ★★★★★

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Heartless…the ARC I scored at Comiccon/Bookcon this past October and still am shocked because I didn’t expect it. In truth, nobody was prepared for this ARC to be available for grabs and Macmillan wasn’t outright announcing it lol. Instead, a tweet was blasted for a Heartless T-shirt if you stopped by & said code word Jaberwocki LOL! My hubby (who was acting in for Gretchen @Chicnerdreads) headed on over & gave the code word, we were handed each a T-shirt which felt a bit heavy. Wrapped inside was the beautifully boxed ARC of Heartless, I almost went over the table and hugged the Macmillan girls handing them out…almost lol. I immediately texted Gretchen & proceeded to jump in the middle of the aisle like a 5 yr old…not unlike my 5 yr old actually. Plans for a buddy read were made btwn Gretchen aka my Book Twin & I. We never expected to be sucked into this world so quickly or to have life get in the way of reading and fangirling. We def tried, but i’ll be honest by saying that Heartless is a very selfish book that really doesn’t let you go once it pulls you in through the looking glass 😉 nonetheless I’ve enjoyed our swooning through voice notes & often times outright frustration with The King Of Hearts.

*Thank you Macmillan for the ARC giveaway hosted at Bookcon, all opinions are my own*

 PLOT

 I’m a HUGE fan of fairy tale re-tellings & after meeting Marrisa Meyer last year at a Barnes & Nobles signing for Winter, I became an instant fan. I love her Lunar Chronicles series & when I heard Heartless would be a standalone, the greedy Lilly came out and asked BUT WHYYYYY?!?! turns out I really didn’t have a reason to doubt that Heartless would be just as enchanting and wonderful as all of her other books. We are introduced to Lady Catherine Pinkerton who dreams of one day opening up a bakery with her maid who is also her best friend Mary-Anne. Catherine is the baker & Mary-Anne is the brains behind the business, she’s also the one reminding Catherine that their dream is a far fetched one. Catherine’s parents (specifically her mother) have plans for her…BIG plans…ROYAL plans. Catherine has her pick of suitors however, her pastries (self proclaimed BEST in the land) have won the attention and admiration from the King of Hearts himself. The king, an eligible bachelor who truly loves his kingdom and court, goes about arranging a marriage to Catherine. The only issue with this is that Lady Catherine Pinkerton isn’t some doe eyed lady waiting to be set up with a man of her parents choosing, for the rest of her life. Catherine also didn’t anticipate falling in love with the King’s new court Jester. Her love & passion was always in baking but Jest with his wit, charm, and air of mystery snuck into her heart and began to court her in private unbeknownst to Cath’s parents. Their love is a slow burn that leaves you aching for the impossibility of acceptance their love presents. They are faced with more obstacles than just Cath’s parents, In the kingdom of Hearts and beyond there are other forces at play. One characters mistakes in the past can change the fates of many. As hard as Catherine may try to make her dreams come true, we the reader get the sense that her fate has already been written. This is the story of Lady Catherine Pinkerton & just how she came to be the Queen Of Hearts…

CHARACTERS

Lady Catherine Pinkerton- I truly enjoyed this character for all of her optimism and determination, she just would not let anyone sway her from her dreams & aspirations. Cath knew what she wanted from life and it wasn’t to be royalty, she was perfectly fine with living a more humble existence. my favorite scenes were when she was was dreaming up recipes and bringing them to life. She is solely responsible for me craving pastries every time I sat down to read this book. Marissa Meyer nailed Catherine’s character development down to a tee! I can honestly say that this re-telling (the only i’ve read based on the Queen Of Hearts) is so fitting and is one that I can accept. I don’t know if I watch Alice In Wonderland now, if I can ever truly hate her again…even when she’s shouting out her most infamous orders to behead someone LOL!.

Jester aka Court Joker- Witty, mysterious, loyal, and oh so CHARMING! this guy! *SwooooN* smh lol. The minute he crosses paths with Catherine, they begin this dance of romance that neither of them really wanted to begin with. As the saying goes, we can’t help who we love right? such is the case here with Jest & Cath. There is however, so much more to Jest than meets the eye. Getting to know his character and how it played a big role in Cath’s life was irresistible. I could NOT stay away from these two for long & began long walks in the park just so that I could return to their story every day. 

Raven-travels on Jest’s shoulder for the most part and who Marissa Meyer (during blog tour) described as “Jest’s friend, Raven, who is my quirky take on the brooding, haunting bird from “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe” this bird only speaks in poem and made me chuckle on Occassion at the things he  was quick to recite in response to anyones witty remarks. He’s also extremely loyal to Jest, he’s got his back 100%

The King of Hearts- LOL just the thought of this guy is enough to make me giggle and shake my head. I mean, I cut him some slack only because he couldn’t hurt a soul even if he wanted to. He is well loved by the people of Hearts and his court (Jester included) because he truly cares for their happiness. That being said! the people of Hearts are notorious for not indulging in pain & sorrow, preferring to as the saying goes KEEP IT MOVIN lol. They don’t want to be brought down by tragic events or fear of monsters but they exist & The King isn’t the bravest in all the land. Short, plump, and Jolly—he’s just not cut out for slaying anything really haha!

Mary Anne- Catherine’s Best Friend who also happens to be her maid and business partner for a bakery they have conspired to one day open. Mary Anne is Catherine’s only friend & confidante at times, she is also a key player.

The Mad Hatter aka Hatta- Yes! he makes an appearance in true Hatta fashion & I was so excited when he made his way onto my page. He legit brought with him all the crazy of Wonderland and added that touch of oddity to the land of Hearts. Marissa Meyer did not stray much from Lewis Carroll’s Hatter and it legitimately felt organic. Plays a major role.

Chesire Cat-My all time favorite character in Wonderland made his way into Heartless & he was dead on, the cat that we’ve all come to love disappear & reappear into thin air. I LOVED his interactions with Cath! he was always up to something & I can clearly picture that grin while he was going about gossiping. 

 

img_2702

Gretchen @Chicnerdreads has created a monster with image hunting LOL! I can’t stop now smh

 

WRITING

Marissa Meyer became an auto-buy author for me once I started The Lunar Chronicles and that hasn’t changed. I still haven’t read a re-telling by another author that I’ve loved as much as hers. They have some elements of the original story but are truly her own. Heartless is no different because, we’ve never been given the Queen Of Hearts story we have only come to know her as the head chopping psycho from Alice In Wonderland. This book is heavy in character development (my favorite) & will slowly weave it’s tale up until the very last page. The Land Of Hearts was brought to life through Meyer’s writing such that I felt like I was actually back in Wonderland. She stayed true to the original characters but what I loved most was getting her take on some of the characters history. LOVED the story she gave the Hatta because Alice In Wonderland was very plot heavy & we just don’t get to know our characters pasts at all. Well Marissa Meyer gave us a bit of how they came to be who they are now in Hearts and it was original and interesting, almost like the extras on the collector’s edition of a DVD 😉

 

THOUGHTS

If you’ve ever wondered about the Queen of Hearts or even if you’re that person who loves a good villain, then Heartless is the book for you. If you loved Alice In Wonderland with its wide array of eccentric and fun characters then this is the book for you. If you enjoy a good & slow burn romance then this is the book for you. You will smile, swoon, hurt, and…no spoilers! HAHA! Marissa Meyer in my eyes is one of the best fairy tale re-telling authors out there in the book world. This book gave me back a piece of my childhood that played a big role in my becoming an avid reader. Alice In Wonderland was the 1st book I ever listened to on an audio cassette that came in a McDonalds Happy Meal. I must’ve played that cassette tape til it burned out, I was OBSESSED with Wonderland and Cheshire. Getting a different character’s back story such as The Queen Of Hearts was a real treat so in closing, THANK YOU MARISSA MEYER!!!! ❤ ❤

I didn’t get to see Marissa Meyer this time around but stumbled across a photo of her book signing/reading of Heartless where she dressed up in costume (down below) and I LOVED IT! it really is something else listening to her tell you a fairy tale in person & they’re always dark *evil grin* haha!

afc3a44eed0f507e852bb8213c6a934e

October Wrap-Up & Haul

 

Wrap-Up

October saw me reaching for cozy reads which I find mostly in mystery, suspense, and humor. I was lucky to have come across some quality reads, three of these were real page turners and 1 was an audiobook. I’m now interested in reading more books by Lisa Unger, Cyna Blog, and Anna-Marie McLemore. Personally, I love when I come across new or under the radar authors in my TBR’s that truly surprise me. October was a slow blogging month for me & I’m only now crawling out of my blog slump but I never stop reading. As a matter of fact, the rest of the year is going to demand that I organize my reading schedule & tackle some arcs. The month of October was pretty AMAZING for me with bookish experiences. I attended my very 1st Comiccon/Bookcon (event post here) with my husband & bookish twin Gretchen @Chicnerdreads where I met some AMAZING authors & scored some epic arcs. I attended 3 days out of 4 and learned some valuable tips & tricks all while having a blast surrounded by the book community. I loved my October & I’m looking forward to Bookcon 2017 since at the moment BEA is up in the air due to all of the changes taking place with the event (Publishers Weekly article). November is here & with it comes Thanksgiving & basically the start of all of the end of the year festivities. I’m hoping to take advantage of some of my days off to read on the go since mostly, I spend it with family. Next week on the 17th, I have a Crooked Kingdom Buddy read & i’m hyped up for that 🙂

img_2644

When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore 5 Stars

Gemina by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman 5 Stars

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (audiobook) 3.5 Stars

Ink And Bone by Lisa Unger 4.75 Stars

Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog  5 Stars

Book Haul

My October Book Haul was humble…at least I think it is compared to previous months LOL. A major reason for this was that as I mentioned above, I attended Bookcon & came home with a good stash to keep me far away from the bookshop. Two of the books listed below were gifts from my hubby (Harry Potter & Vassa) and the others were either Bookoutlet, B&N, and Book Of The Month. I did purchase 1 Kindle book, I jumped when I saw The Underground Girls OF Kabul for $1.99 since this is a book that i’ve been itching to read since last year smh *covers eyes*  Overall though, my book shopping is going to see a MAJOR slow down for the rest of the year. I won’t call Book Ban LOL cuz that would be setting myself up for failure haha! BTW I had to cancel Book Of The Month, they changed their plans after I subscribed for the very 1st time. Switching me from my preferred month-to-month plan to a 3 month plan at $48…yea no, as much as I love BOTM I am simply not rollin in the dough to give them all my $$$ so instead I’ll check out their monthly picks & continue buying books from their selections sans a subscription. If they ever bring back the month-to-month plan I would gladly sign right back up but until then, i’ll admire from afar 😉

18077802

A Study In Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro  (Bookoutlet)

Every Heart A Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire (Bookoutlet)

Vassa In The Night by Sarah Porter (Owlcrate-recurring VDay gift from Lé Hubby)

The Mothers by Brit Bennett  (Book Of The Month $5 for their 1st box)

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (B&N Coupons & Sale =$5.99)

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (full price cuz it’s worthy LOL)

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (gift from Lé Hubby)

The Underground Girls Of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg  (Kindle $1.99)

 

In Other News…

October saw me become OBSESSED with Luke Cage!!! every night I came home & after settling our 2 tiny humans in for the night, hubby & I would watch 1 episode a night. Netflix has been putting out some quality series & this one is no exception. Luke Cage touched on relevant current day issues taking place within black communities, thought provoking with it’s subtleties. I couldn’t stop watching this man who is bullet proofa man of colorbullet proof…let that sink in my fellow bookies. Hands down, this show was one of the best i’ve watched in 2016 & I’m looking forward to any news of a 2nd season. Also, the soundtrack…I am truly old school with my music & when I say old school I mean old school hip hop. The series has WuTang on it’s soundtrack which was a perfect fit & gave it more character. If you’re into that old school feel with a mix of politics and kick a** scenes then Luke Cage is for you. It does have a bit of a slow beginning but the pay off is HUGE! This is the 3rd series after Daredevil & Jessica Jones (to be followed by Iron Fist last) that will tie into Marvel’s The Defenders (Youtube trailer here).

luke-cage

​Hope you’re all having a great November, I’m a bit late with my October wrap-up & haul ​but if you’d like to share a link to yours, i’d love to take a gander 😉

WWW Wednesday

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?

 

www-wednesdays

CURRENTLY READING

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

heartless-cover

Goodreads

Started Heartless yesterday as part of a buddy read with my book twin Gretchen @Chicnerdreads & enjoying it immensely! honestly Marrisa Meyer is the Queen of Fairy Tale re-tellings. You’re immediately thrust into the kingdom of Hearts & the Wonderland feel is ever present. I am very interested in Catherine’s aka The Queen Of Hearts story before she becomes who we all know & fear for her mood swings lol. I love that Catherine is a baker…I think I love any book in which there is baking especially when the author does a great job of making me want a pastry straight off the page.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2213661

Goodreads

Also started this one yesterday in audiobook format BECAUSE it’s none other than uncle Gaiman come to tell a story & I can’t get enough of his narrating voice lol. After listening &  adoring the hell out of Stardust, I knew that I would be a fan of Gaiman for life. This is now my 2nd book & i’m only 12% in and i’m hooked. The Graveyard Book is rich with characters from page 1 and I find myself smiling like a little girl every time I listen to these characters (he even does the voices & does them WELL!) dialogue. I love little Nobody Owens & want to protect him for as long as possible…I have a feeling this will lead to me buying uncle Gaiman’s (not really my uncle lol) books for my shelves.

What did you recently finish reading?

Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

29236299

Goodreads

I recently read & reviewed Gemina (review here) by Amie Kaufman & jay Kristoff, this was a 5 star read for me and an EPIC addition to the Illuminae files. Inside & out, this book was stunning!!! with illustrations by Marie Lu the author of The Young Elites trilogy to enhance the reading experience. Gemina offered up tons of laughs & a whole new set of characters to LOVE & care for.

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

amy-schumer

Goodreads

This was a 3.5 star read for me (review here), I listened to the audiobook & have a new found respect for Amy. Although the 1st half of this book was a bit hard to get into due to a bit of Amy’s own awkwardness & what comes off as dicomfort…the 2nd half really saw her coming into her own & owning her words. Schumer hits on some really tough subjects in this her collection of essays. Not every moment will be a laugh out loud moment but it will be raw & she makes no apologies for that, which is why I am now a fan 😉

What do you think you’ll read next?

Fractured by Catherine Mckenzie

29477965

Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course.

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.

After seeing so many rave reviews from bloggers I follow, I requested and was approved for this eGalley on Netgalley. This author has been on my radar for another one of her books titled Smoke and if I enjoy Fractured, will be probably be boosting Smoke up the more immediate TBR list.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

22299763

Goodreads

I will be buddy reading the 2nd book in the Six Of Crows duology with Jill @rantandraveaboutbooks, Melissa @Booknerdmomo, & Megan @Bookslayerreads starting November 17th. A bit bittersweet feeling since I am not ready to let go of this world & my babies! but it’s time, I can’t continue dodging Crooked Kingdom spoiler bombs on Twitter (quite stressful lol). Looking forward to jumping back into this world 😉

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

27833670

Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable–something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Another book that comes highly recommended by some pretty awesome book bloggers I follow & love. Also, while waiting in line to get my book signed by V.E. Schwab I over heard her say that she LOVED this book & that it was simply just SO GOOD! I mean, if that isn’t enough motivation to finally start this one I don’t know what is. Such an interesting premise, i’m looking forward to finding out what is happening to Jason.

Did any of you participate in WWW Wednesday? if so, drop that link & i’ll swing by your blog for a peek. October was a blur of activity & i’m hoping for a much more mellow November but who am I kidding? LOL! 

Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Spoiler Free)

gemina-by-amie-kaufman-and-jay-kristoffGemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Date of Publication: October 18th 2016

Genres: Young Adult Sci-Fi

Pages: 608

Format: Physical Book (Hardcover)

Rating:★★★★★ (5 Stars)

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

 

After reading and Loving the ISH (funny cuz currency in Gemina is referred to as ISH) out of Illuminae (review here) earlier this year, I knew that Gemina would be a book to have me running to the bookstore to drop that $$$ HAHA! just like its predecessor, Gemina did NOT disappoint. Offering up non-stop page turning action & a cast of witty characters you can’t get enough of. Illustrations by Marie Lu author of the Young elites covered the pages making Gemina one beautiful book both inside & out. The Illuminae Files are addictive, fun, and overall just great story telling…

 

img_6414

CREDS & HAILS go to Gretchen @CHICNERDREADS for this EPIC aesthetic, I can’t stop staring at it with the only *heart eyes* Thanks again my fren’ you’re simply AMAZING! 

PLOT

Gemina picks up with a brand new set of characters on the Jump Station Heimdall right after the events of the Kerenza invasion & BeiTech assault. Since this is book 2 in the series, I will ward off the dreaded spoilers. Gemina is said to be a companion novel to Illuminae & for the most part it is, however it most definitely is necessary to read Illuminae as it all does tie in. The characters at jump station Heimdall are unaware of the events at Kerenza or BeiTech’s involvement. As the reader, you feel a sense of anticipation all throughout Gemina because you are aware of what’s happened & the imminent danger that lays ahead. The civilians and crew on Jump Station Heimdall are unaware of the incoming ships & just like in Illuminae, they are in for a rude awakening. This is the story of how Hemidall came to defend itself & the intricate web of deception BeiTech has woven…

CHARACTERS

Although we have quite a few players in the game, the main characters are Hannah Donelly & Niklas Malikov. These are two young adults who end up having to step into much larger shoes when the ISH hits the fan. We get to know both these characters on a more personal level since the format in this book is dialogue heavy. I enjoyed the witty banter between these two so much & found myself either smiling or outright laughing at some of the their exchanges. Hannah also keeps a journal & she’s a pretty good artist (illustrations by Marie Lu) depicting exactly what she thinks of Nik in a series of laugh out loud drawings. Hannah has to be one of my new hands down favorite kick a** female protagonists in YA PERIOD! she is smart, quick on her feet, a pro in war games thanks to her dad, witty, and loyal to her friends & family. Nik Malikov stole my heart with his dirty mind & endless attempts to win Hannah over. He was born into the House Of Knives, a criminal family (yup they exist even in outer space HAHA!) & is being groomed & taught to earn his keep through a series of innnnneresting criminal activities (I won’t divulge more than that hehe). I can’t discuss the characters in this book without mentioning my FAVORITE Spider, Ella Malikova who is Nik’s cousin and hacker extraordinaire. Ella is disabled from the waist down and spends her time in front of a computer in her wheelchair exchanging sarcastic & witty remarks with Nik through IM’s. Not only is Ella AMAZING at what she knows with computers but she’s also a fighter in every sense & I looked forward to seeing her IM’s pop up on the page.

 

img_2534

Illustrations by Marie Lu author of The Young Elites trilogy

WRITING

The format for Gemina is the same as the one the authors used for Illuminae. The story is told through a series of IM chats, E-mails, & memorandums. In between these you’ll come across transcriptions from video camera footage which in the story, are written by Analysts that have watched & to the best of their ability tried to make sense of what is caught on camera. Gemina just like Illuminae may appear intimidating at first glance especially given the 600+ page count. However, I can assure all those that are interested in The Illuminae Files that it is all well worth it & a very quick read. In fact, the format of this book only helps move the story along much faster & the dialogue is so much fun that before you know it, you’ll be requesting that Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman get working on the 3rd book hehe 😉

Donelly, H: What, you’re just going to open the door so I can creep in?

Donelly, H: It’s too far, not safe. recon before action, that’s the rule. If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.

Merrick, J: What?

Donelly, H: Sun Tzu.

 IM chat between Hanna Donelly & her boyfriend Jackson Merrick

THOUGHTS

Gemina deserves all of the hype it gets because it truly delivers & packs a punch, I’m lucky to have other books I’ve really been looking forward to because the book hangover is REAL!  Once again, I am left so impressed with these two authors because I can’t tell where one starts and the other ends, they write so well together. The inclusion of Marie Lu’s illustrations in this book only enhanced the beauty and overall bad a**ness of this second installment. Although Illuminae will always hold that special place in my heart for introducing me to such an interesting world…Gemina came in & is now holding the crown. What really made this book even more spectacular is the humor & characters this round, these authors are clearly in tune with young adults making the dialogue so believable. I am now left waiting another year for the 3rd installment…currently experiencing the phase where I watch for (stalk) these authors for any bit of info…following the cookie crumb trail I go…