SPOILER FREE REVIEW: STRANGE GRACE BY TESSA GRATTON

Title: Strange Grace

Author: Tessa Gratton

Pub. Date: September 18th. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 320

Content Warnings: Human sacrifice, Death, Trauma, and Torture…There’s probably a whole lot more that I’m missing since this in fact is THE darkest read I’ve ever read, please note trigger warnings for graphic imagery.

Buddy Read: Melanie, Julie, and Candace

*Thank you Simon & Schuster for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review

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“Every seven years their best boy is sent into the forest from sundown to sunrise, on the night of the Slaughter Moon. he will live or die on his own mettle, and for his sacrifice the devil blesses Three Graces”

In Three Graces the people live without death, disease, or injuries in exchange for their best boy. The most purest of heart & loved by all the people is raised to be sacrificed as a “Saint” every seven years to the Devil who lives in the forest, a bargain that started when a Grace witch fell in love with the Devil. When the Slaughter moon comes early at the 3 year mark, all are left wondering what went wrong with the last sacrifice. For three of the youths living in Three Graces, it’s an opportunity to give their lives some purpose…

Mairwen- A Grace Witch who has always been pulled in by the dark magic that lives in the forest. The Daughter of a Grace Witch & a Saint, Mairwen dreams of the day she can do more than just brush the borders of the Forest. Mairwen is definitely what I’d consider a daughter of the night, she collects bones and makes trinkets out of them. Mairwen does NOT fear the Devil. Fearless & strong, Mairwen also loves Rhun & Arthur who each face their own challenges.

Rhun- Our towns chosen Saint, loved by all and descended from a long line of Saints sacrificed to the Devil & the forest. Rhun is fully prepared to die for the people of Three Graces who believe him to be the best boy. However, Rhun also knows that his love for Arthur if discovered will most likely take him out of the running for “Saint.” Still, Rhun doesn’t hold back his love for either Mairwen or Arthur. What I love about Rhun is that he respects Arthur’s boundaries & understands that Arthur isn’t ready to acknowledge there are feelings there to begin with.

Arthur- The Outcast of Three Graces as a result of his mothers decision to raise him as a girl. Arthur’s mother believed she could protect him from ever having to be considered for sacrifice by keeping his gender a secret. This however backfires when at a young age he is exposed in front of others and made to question his own identity. My heart bleeds for Arthur who I just want to protect at all costs! Arthur’s also the only one who sees how messed up Three graces really is and how toxic masculinity runs deep in its core. Arthur waivers between needing to prove something to this town and basically saying SCREW YOU! Arthur is not one to self sacrifice for this town however he loves both Mairwen & Rhun most and for them anything goes.

Strange Grace lured me in with its beautifully mysterious cover with a tree and red leaves never once thinking it would wrap its roots around my every waking thought. I LIVE for dark atmospheric reads but Tessa Gratton seriously elevated the bar on what I consider Dark Fantasy going forward. I LOVED every minute of my reading experience with this book & the imagery I was left with alone makes this a stand-out read. Gratton gives us a Polyamorous relationship and a mostly all queer cast of characters. Gender fluidity is discussed from the POV of one of the main characters who was made to live as female at an age when they didn’t know the difference. This character grows up to be someone who wants so badly for there to be no hard lines of distinction between what makes one male or female. This is the first book I’ve ever come across in YA Fantasy to weave in so many important discussions on gender & sexuality and I cannot sing its praises enough! The writing might haunt you & break you but I guarantee it will leave its mark on you 🖤


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THE RAGING ONES BLOG TOUR!!!🚀

Title: THE RAGING ONES

Author: Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

Pub. Date: August 14th. 2018

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 352

Content Warnings: Physical Violence, Torture, Suicidal Thoughts and Drug Use

*Thank you Wednesday Books for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest opinion

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The Raging Ones truly caught me by surprise in that I wasn’t expecting it to make me the 4th person in the bond our main protagonists share! Told in multiple POV, we get introduced to Court Icecastle and Mykal Kickfall first as they’re preparing to enroll for consideration into the Space Program that would allow them  to keep their secret. In a world where everyone is given their Death Day at the time of their birth, there are also classifications:

Influentials: their life expectancy surpasses 100 years of age which marks them for greatness. They get the best educations because it is believed their contributions to the world are of high value. Most are adopted into families in other countries that can provide them with as much. Influentials are the elite, wealthy, and basically V.I.P.’s in this world.

Fast Trackers: have a life expectancy between 13-29 years of age. When born they are returned to their mothers to live free & fun lives. They are most commonly recognized for their colorful hair, piercings, slang, addiction to certain drugs…they live fast & hard in the little time they have.

Babes: life expectancy is between infancy and 12 years of age. They also are returned to their mothers to live innocent lives never leaving their childhood.

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Court Icecastle is a Fast Tracker raised by Influentials, he is able to pass as a Influential himself and hopes to use this as a way into the StarDust Space program. Court Icecastle’s Death Day has come & gone leaving him very much alive with many questions and much more guilt. To make matters even more interesting, Court is bonded to Mykal Kickfall. Bonded in a way that lets them feel everything the other is feeling no matter the distance. Mykal has also survived past his Death Day & life brings these two together, Mykal a “Babe” comes from a distant land. He’s had a completely different upbringing & is a bit rough around the edges. Court makes it his mission to educate & train Mykal who he is now connected to for the StarDust enrollment exams. Years pass & the date quickly approaches for the entrance exam when all of a sudden both Court & Mykal feel a third connection. Franny Bluecastle is at deaths door when her connection to Court & Mykal activates. Franny a Fast Tracker living fast & hard is ready to die, it’s her Death Day after all and all she wants is to spend her savings on a room in one of the most well known hotels for V.I.P’s. Things don’t go quite as planned for Franny who is overcome with emotions, thoughts, feelings, and sensations that are not her own when she meets Court and Mykal. From this point on it’s edge of your seat, pulse pounding action with a Romance to satisfy all those who live for that A+ TOP quality angst! *need more 🤗*

Court Icecastle- has a ton of secrets, never smiles, and carries a whole lot of pain buried deep within. Court is a Fast Tracker who can pass for a Influential and really only has 1 goal in mind. That is until he meets Mykal, it’s more than just a bond…Mykal is his soulmate & there are reasons for which he can’t quite act on these feelings 😉

Mykal Kickfall- A Babe who lived past his death date & comes from a land where people still hunt for their food. He’s most comfortable in the outdoors chopping wood. Mykal is all physical strength but he also has a HUGE heart & in it he’s managed to find a special place for Court. I LOVE MYKAL TO PIECES! he accepts Court as he is but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy trying to get him to smile 💓 Also, Mykal is the one to come running whenever he smells danger to either Court or Franny, fiercely over protective in the best of ways!

Franny Bluecastle- A Fast Tracker who pretty much fits all of the stereo types known for FT’s & doesn’t know what to make of being linked to Mykal & Court. She has a different relationship with them both & I love that she never gives up on Court when it comes to getting him to lower his walls.

There’s so much to love in The Raging Ones but my favorite aspects of this book had to do with the bond these three shared. It wasn’t just talked about,   Krista & Becca Ritchie took us through the good, bad, and the ugly with these characters. The moments that should remain private but instead are shared 3 ways and the complications that arise when they come into physical contact with one another. The confusion that comes into play when you have 3 different personalities feeling everything the other is feeling and wondering if that was your own emotion or not. The world building was A++ and by describing each of the different types of people in this world we got a more fleshed out look as to what’s valued most & what is considered expendable. The romance is by far one of my favorites this year!!! there is so much angst for some very valid reasons but I was seriously shipping hard at the start of this book! Underneath it all, we also get a look at a society intent on putting their eggs all in 1 basket…in the hands of Influentials. All others are seen as lesser than because of the short lives they are destined to live. The ending left me with eyes WIDE open! to say that I am HIGHLY anticipating the sequel has to be the understatement of the year! I can’t wait to be reunited with Court, Franny, and Mykal & see what and where their adventure takes them next…


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Spoiler Free Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Title: The Wedding Date

Author:Jasmine Guillory

Pub. Date: January 30th. 2018

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Publisher: Berkley

Format: eBook/Kindle

Buddy Read: Melanie from Meltotheany

Pages: 320

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Everyone loves a good elevator story amiright? haha! I know I do, especially when it’s one that tackles the fake dating trope. Such is the case with The Wedding Date where we meet Alexa, a young lawyer who is the Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Berkeley California as she’s visiting her sister in L.A. Alexa’s sister just so happens to be staying at the same hotel Drew Nichols our other love interest is staying in while getting ready to attend his ex girlfriend’s wedding…yeah I know, first red flag. Alexa & Drew get stuck in the elevator and pass the time eating crackers & wine from Alexa’s purse while they wait for assistance. Instant chemistry between them leads Drew to asking Alexa to help him out of a jam…can she be his date to the wedding? For Alexa who doesn’t typically do chance encounters, it’s a little out of character when she accepts to go along with the fake dating plan to help this poor handsome fella. They spend the weekend pretend dating & as one can imagine, real feelings started to spark. This all kind of had to slow down a bit when they realized Alexa has to return to Cali where she has a career she loves. Drew is bound by his pager as a Pediatric Surgeon who also loves his job. We then go on a series of weekend visits from Cali to L.A. while these two hard-working profesionals try to keep it casual (key word is try haha). We get to know Alexa a lot more through the work she has a deep passion for. Helping provide the resources in the community for underprivileged teens. We touch on white privilege and the difference in perspective when it comes to authority. This isn’t your standard fluffy contemporary, TWD has depth & Alexa is to me the definition of a phenomenal woman!

Alexa- I absolutely LOVE Alexa to pieces! No only she is she smart, curvy, and unknowingly sexy…she’s also very passionate about helping give teenagers the resources they need within their communities. Places they can go to for mentoring, culture, the arts. Most importantly giving minority teens second chances. Alexa is a woman of color who knows what racism looks like & checking Drew for his privilege is something she does not shy away from.

Drew- Not my favorite love interest, not even a smidge 😂 I seriously tried with Drew. It was almost like I had to tell myself Alexa likes him so you need to like him…NOPE! Drew is not only arrogant at times, I also feel he doesn’t appreciate Alexa. He’s also very quick to throw in the towel & go seek attention. Also, I do wish he’d shown more interest in Alexa’s work & passion that goes beyond asking how her day went or wishing her good luck. He has a very privileged perspective & after seeing Alexa take interest in helping one of his patients I just felt like she brought more to the table in compassion & just as a human being. I love my girl Alexa though lol, so whatever makes her happy!

Carlos- The BFF I wish every dude had! I legit jumped for joy when I heard Carlos was getting his own book (The Proposal) & that I had gotten approved for a galley! *hooray* I have a feeling I’m going to LOVE it! Carlos is respectful & a ride or die BFF while still telling you when you’re wrong! he put Drew in check a few times in regards to his treatment of Alexa.

Maddie- Ok so we don’t get much of this character but I still appreciate the small role she played in being there for Alexa. Nowadays it’s hella hard to find a BFF that will make sure you don’t go out looking a hot mess! it’s much easier to fine frenemies tbh but Maddie made sure her girl Alexa brough her A game when they went out & that’s what I consider #BFFGOALS

I loved how realistic & relatable Alexa & Drew’s story read, it may not be common occurrence to get stuck on an elevator with your next love interest but I’m referring to everything else. From demanding careers to issues & differences interracial couples may experience (i’m Latinx married to a black man) when getting to know each other. I appreciated this book so much for the themes that played out & the awareness it brings in regards to socioeconomic differences and the lack of resources for underprivileged teens. Second chances for teenagers who fall into bad crowds but have so much potential to do more if only there was a place they could go to for some guidance. The light that it shines on the mentality that these teens should be written off as a loss & move on was cold but so true that it hurt. I loved seeing Alexa in her career fighting for what she was passionate about. Guillory doesn’t just tell you here’s a strong woman for a protagonist, she shows you a fierce woman in her element slaying it!


Hello Bookworms! I am re-living my experience with The Wedding Date through this review & LOVING it! Have you read this one? have it on your TBR? thinking of picking up The Proposal? How do you feel about a Carlos POV?Sound off in the comments down below <3’s!


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: SCREAM ALL NIGHT BY DEREK MILMAN

Title: SCREAM ALL NIGHT

Author: DEREK MILMAN

Pub. Date: July 24th. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Horror

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper

Pages: 400

Content Warning: Physical Violence, substance abuse, child abuse, homophobic jokes, and Miscarriage

*HUGE thanks to Balzer + Bray/ Harper for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

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Scream All Night is one of those books that has a personality all of its own. Quirky, odd, sad, and a times very funny all rolled into one bringing the setting of Moldavia studios to life. Our MC Dario Heyward has very mixed feelings on his childhood growing up as the son of Moldavia Studio’s infamous owner/producer. Cast as Alastair the star on one of his father’s B-Horror flicks, Dario was subjected to physical violence and even emaciation at the hands of his dad. At the age of 12 after having his last near death scare, Dario decided to put distance between him and his abusive father. His father is a perfectionist and there really aren’t any boundaries he wouldn’t cross for one of his creature features. Dario is emancipated & living in a group home where he is trying to live his life away from all things Moldavia. This all changes of course when his brother Oren calls him with an invitation to Moldavia for a ceremony (being vague here cause spoilers haha!) taking place for his father & Dario wants nothing to do with it. Since his departure from Moldavia as a child, Dario has grown leaps & bounds and knows that accepting means the possibility of getting sucked back in to the world that is Moldavia studios. Perhaps because he still has some unfinished business, he accepts and sure enough finds himself sucked in by the Moldavian castle & its inhabitants who are all family to him. Although Dario has cut off all ties to Moldavia, its the people he got to know there while growing up that he is still attached to. He may not be prepared for what is asked of him but ultimately Dario is a much better man than his father. Scream All Night is a book about getting closure and new beginnings. It’s about grieving someone when they are still alive and it’s about second families, those we make along the way & those that take us in as if one of their own.

Dario- The MC of this story who has had a tough life raising himself. Having had a traumatic abusive childhood, he’s had to move away from the family he loves. This includes the girl he grew up with on the set of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, his co-star a the age of 11. Although he’d love to be around those he loves, he’s also not ready to return to the castle filled with painful memories at every turn. The last thing he wants is to face his 91 year old father but there’s a part of him that needs closure. Dario’s mother resides in a psychiatric facility, mental illness runs in the family & is always on Dario’s mind. Dario is loved by those cast & staff members who live in the Moldavia castle, no one expects him to return to the place that haunts him the most.

Oren- Dario’s older brother who shadowed their father in hopes of taking over Moldavia studios one day. Oren probably spends most of the book under the influence of mushrooms which means you can’t really trust anything he says or does. When we meet Oren he is fully immersed in writing the script for a movie of his own making. As much as I loved this character later on in the book, he was also frustrating and at the very beginning outright infuriating. Oren is the reason I docked this book a star, homophobic jokes left unchecked really get under my skin. I get that Oren was all shades of messed up, under the influence, and in his father’s shadow but I could’ve done without his jokes on Dario.

Hayley- The girl who saw it all & wanted more for Dario even if it meant that he’d have to leave the castle. Hayley lives & breathes Moldavia and unlike Dario she never had to experience child abuse (unfortunately that was solely reserved for prodigal son Dario) at the hands of his father. Hayley had both her parents with her in the castle and they treated Dario as if he was their own son.

Jude-Dario’s BFF from the group home who wears a wrestling mask and cape to sleep at night naked smh 😂 Jude is one of my fave characters simply for how hard he tried to protect Dario. They both hit it off while at the group home & I’ll be honest, for a minute there I thought there was chemistry between Jude & Dario.

Moldavia Studios-Yes, I put down Moldavia Studios as a character because it truly is! The cast & staff love making B-Horror movies no matter how terrible most of them are. Walking through the castle halls, seeing the set designs described as well as the costumes and makeup give a vivid image of what this Transylvanian-like castle is like. I came to really LOVE this setting and the character Moldavia Studios embodied making for one quirky strange laugh out loud read.

I’ll admit when the publicist for this book reached out, I wasn’t too sure whether it was something I’d enjoy since Horror is a genre I stay away from. That being said, for those of you who fear the creeps like me…have no fear! this isn’t scary at all. It’s a contemporary that carries a ton of quirk and isn’t like anything I’ve read before. The MC had such a messed up childhood and in a way is the black sheep of the family since he chose to emancipate himself. That doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t have a little of his family’s passion in him. Dario may have turned away from Moldavia Studios because of the bad memories attached to it but B- Horror flicks are a HUGE part of his life. Once he returns, all the oddness of his childhood comes back, both the good and the bad. Getting a behind the scene look at the production of these films was a TON of fun. There were parts were they ran dialogue that as ridiculous as the lines may have seemed, offered up so much entertainment and laughs. Scream All Night is easily one of those reads that’ll be hard to forget in the best of ways!


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: GRACE AND FURY BY TRACY BANGHART

Title: GRACE AND FURY

Author: TRACY BANGHART

Pub. Date: July 31ST. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Pages: 320

Content Warning: Physical abuse, violence, threatened talk of rape, and death

Buddy Read: Melanie, Amy, Jules, Jen

*HUGE thanks to Little Brown Books For Young Readers for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

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Grace & Fury opens up in an Italian inspired Fantasy setting that has been compared to that of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Women are limited to the role of housewives and the simplest of educations is deemed illegal to them. We meet Serina and her sister Nomi who are complete polar opposites. Serina is in training to compete for a position as a “Grace” for the Heir to the throne. Nomi in turn is being trained to be her handmaiden of sorts if Serina secures a position as a Grace. To be chosen as a Grace is viewed as a honorable thing & blessing bestowed upon a family. In truth, a Grace is groomed in all sorts of manners & etiquette but is also to assume the role of concubine to the Heir. To Serina, being chosen is all that matters & it’s what she’s worked so hard for. For outspoken & Feminist Nomi, this all sounds more like a life sentence. Free spirited and hungry for knowledge of the written word, Nomi wants Serina to see that this life isn’t a choice at all. While Serina aims to please the Heir someday, Nomi can be found sneaking in lessons with her brother on how to read. They both seem to have their life purpose laid out in stone until their world is turned upside down and they are forced to step into each others shoes…LITERALLY! One random run in with the heir leads to Nomi securing a most undesirable spot as a Grace leaving Serina to be her handmaiden. This twisted turn of affairs is one of many that will keep you flipping the pages as fast as you can drink in the words.

Grace & Fury is told from the alternating points of view between Serina and Nomi which worked really well to show us just how different these two siblings really are. I started off really favoring Nomi and her refusal to be boxed into a role she never asked for. I found myself really wanting to see more from this character & her contribution to the overall story. About half way into Grace & Fury, I found myself really frustrated with Nomi’s situation but understood that it wasn’t ideal for either of the two sisters. Made to swap roles, neither Serina or Nomi were prepared for the cards they were dealt. I did however have higher expectations from Nomi who knows how to read & is from the very start is very rebellious. Instead, I feel like we didn’t get much character growth from Nomi vs. the immense transformation we see in Serina during the last half of this book. Given, Nomi was in a very subdued position given the very nature of having to fulfill the role of a Grace but it doesn’t explain some of her decisions specifically when it came to insta-love. Serina on the other hand really won me over during the second half of the book as she came to terms with the hard consequences of her sister’s secret. I also really enjoyed Serina’s POV chapters because of the supporting characters we are introduced to on the island she is cast away. Not only is Serina stripped of her chances to become a Grace but she takes the fall for her sisters secret & is discarded on an island where the women fight to the death for their meals. The women on the island all have a story and getting to know them had to be my favorite part of this story.

This was such a fast paced easy read that caught me by surprise each & every time I sat down. I easily read chunks at a time every sitting but won’t deny that the second half of this story is where all the action and character growth really hooked its claws into me. I also found myself enjoying Serina’s chapters way more than Nomi’s which is a shame since Nomi and what she represents really appealed to my Feminist soul. There is so much good to this story though, including the history embedded into the ways of the land and why women are not allowed to learn how to read. Fear of what is perceived to be the weaker sex gaining knowledge & one day reclaiming power is at the root of the story. I found Grace & Fury to be a solid start to a Feminist Fantasy that I am very interested in continuing on with. If that ending is any indication of things to come…I am one very excited Bookworm! 🖤


Good Monday Morning Bookworms! I hope you all have a wonderful start to the week 🖤 Grace & Fury will hit shelves 7/31/2018, will you be picking up a copy? 


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: SPINNING SILVER BY NAOMI NOVIK❄️

Title: SPINNING SILVER

Author: NAOMI NOVAK

Pub. Date: July 10th. 2018

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Re-telling

Publisher: DEL REY

Pages: 448

Content Warning: Anti-antisemitism, alcohol abuse, physical abuse, death of a family member, and violence

*HUGE thanks to Del Rey for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

    

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I’m not quick to say I have a type when it comes to books or anything for that matter however, this slower paced wintry read seems to fall in line with some of my favorites (think The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden or The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco). Spinning Silver is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, an adult fantasy that takes on real life hard hitting issues (please see Content Warnings above) while weaving a tale about debts owed and the relentless winter that is plaguing the land. A tale about three daughters left to pay the price of bad decisions made by their fathers. Their lives intertwined–Miryem, Wanda, and Irinushka have every odd set against them in a world that would soon rather have them married and birthing children than in a position of power.

Told through multiple points of view, we start off with ❄Miryem❄ who loves her father for the good man that he is but recognizes how terrible he is as a money lender. Miryem and her family are struggling in poverty while those in the village that have borrowed from her father continue to prosper whilst not paying their debts. Money lending runs in the family & just like her grandfather Miryem has a knack for collecting from those that owe her. She sets out to settle the books and quickly makes a turnaround of their fate. However, she also manages to capture the attention of the Staryk King aka Lord Winter himself. The Staryk believes Miryem may have the power to transform silver into gold and promises her his hand in marriage if after his 3 visits, she has made into gold all of the silver he brings her. Each load he drops off being impossibly larger than the last because deep down inside, this Staryk King doesn’t see Miryem as a worthy Queen. Meanwhile, Miryem’s “Cold” approach seems to match the Satryk King quite well IMO 😂

❄Wanda❄ works for Miryem’s family tending to the house-chores and any manual labor. Miryem teaches Wanda her #’s and takes her long when collecting monies owed. In Miryem’s home, Wanda learns what love looks like and it isn’t the daily beatings she gets at the hands of her alcoholic father. Sort of an adoptive daughter, Wanda finds herself looking after Miryem’s parents and plays an important role later on in the story. I really love Wanda’s character, she’s someone who if shown even a little love to, will honestly go hard for you. We see this play out with her own brothers which made her scenes so heartfelt 💓

Irinushka❄ daughter of royals, Irinushka’s father has already promised her hand to a Tsar as a way to gain political favor. The Tsar has a deep dark secret he’s keeping & is the reason for which he has yet married and produced an heir. There’s a ton of pressure on Irinushka & instead of succumbing to it, we see an intellectual rise up and make some interesting power plays. Irinushka is a natural at politics 😉

❄There are also a slew of supporting characters that come in throughout the story. Many are memorable like Irinushka’s Nana of sorts who raised her and only wants to see her happy. We also travel a bit with Wanda’s brothers. In the Staryk King’s world we meet a different kind of people who at first come off as cold hearted but end up being quite the opposite❄

There are very few books I’ve come across with the power to transport me from the very first page. Usually it takes some settling in and getting to know the world a bit. Spinning Silver however is already set-up and literally feels like opening the door in the back of the closet that leads you to Narnia. These make for some of my favorite reads and linger behind even after I’ve closed the book. At times this book was heavy on the heart with scenes of violence in Wanda’s home. Seeing her & her siblings being physically hurt mercilessly and the fear they carried was tough to get through. Paired with the very different home life of Miryem and the love her family has for one another made for a deeper connection to these characters lives. We see a village deeply rooted in antisemitism, Miryem is Jewish and is seen honoring the Sabbath even in the most undesirable circumstances. In the background we have the threat of an endless Winter and we see the effects it takes on the people. I only docked it half a star because we get so many POV’s throughout & although it was written in a way so as to not make it overwhelming, it still felt like I could do without some. I found myself wanting to get back to certain fave characters quicker than others but that is not unheard of in a multi-POV story. Overall, I highly reccomend this spell-binding tale over a cup of hot Cocoa or Tea ❄


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: WHISPER OF THE TIDE BY SARAH TOLCSER

Title: Whisper Of The Tide (Song of the Current #2)

Author: Sarah Tolcser

Pub. Date: June 5th. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: BLOOMSBURY YA

Pages: 416

*HUGE thanks to BLOOMSBURY YA & Sarah Tolcser for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

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2018 has been the year of the sequel here at Lair Of Books & thankfully there have been some really amazing follow-ups! Whisper Of The Tide is one of the most satisfying conclusions to what is now one of my favorite duologies in YA Fantasy. If you’re a fan of all things pirates like I am, you’ll enjoy this high seas adventure into the wee hours of the morning. All of the things I loved about Song of the Current were back & better than ever! our MC has spread her wings and is on a mission to protect the love of her life Marko who has a huge target on his back. Marko’s father the Emparch has been murdered & Konto Theucinian has taken over. Konto’s rule is very rigid and Markos is having difficulty campaigning for military support to overthrow Theucininan, many are going as far as calling him “The Pretender.” Caro is focused on keeping Markos alive while he tries to rally support & is beginning to struggle internally with the change of course her life has taken. To Caro, being the captain of her own ship was a dream come true and although the River God never whispered her name, that never changed her love for the pirate life. Caro may not have received the call of the River God but a bigger power has already set it’s sights on her. Destined for the open waters, Caro will have to choose between Markos & his political battles or her true calling. The Sea Goddess isn’t one to give those she chooses, the option to decline her call…

*Photos not my own, obtained from Pinterest

Caro & Marko are both struggling a bit with what they think is expected of them VS. their hearts desire. These characters are super fleshed out, more so than in Song Of The Current. I may not have cared too much for Marko in the first book but I began to appreciate him a bit more in this book. Marko is driven by duty, he doesn’t want to let the people down but politicking isn’t something that is coming easy to him. Most importantly, he isn’t willing to let go of Caro & marry a more “suitable match” for the good of the kingdom. Meanwhile, Caro is playing the self-sacrificing card & is basically telling Markos go-on get married & I’ll learn to live with it. This then sets off a series of events that place Caro on a wild treasure hunt. From piers to pavement, Caro & Marko are chased & multiple attempts against their lives are made. This made for a adrenaline induced read in which I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. I ditched the page flags & allowed myself to enjoy this fun ride till the very end. We also got to see some of our favorite supporting characters return, with a focus on immediate & extended family members. I find myself hella intrigued by Caro’s cousin who can manipulate her shadow & has been in training since last we saw her in Song of the Current. It’s rare we get extended family in YA Fantasy, I love seeing Caro with her family members. If I had one complaint it would only be that we don’t really get to see Caro’s dad and Fee (Frog person) this time around.

The world building continued to be A+ expanding on the Sea God mythology and those she has chosen to be her children. What I loves most about this book is that  we see Caro who is a strong Bi-racial woman continue to embrace all of the things that make her look different. Caro has bi-racial hair and is of a darker complexion with freckles, all things she loves about herself. She’s also very aware that they set her apart amongst the people of the river where she was raised by her father. Caro shows us what it’s like to be caught in the middle of both sides of her family. Her Father’s side who live by the ways of the River God as fishermen & wives VS. her Mother’s side who are well known established business people (Ships & trade) throughout the land. Caro resembles her mother who is described as a beautiful strong woman of color who also went against tradition & became a powerful captain and owner of the family business. We see Caro toggle back & forth between the two worlds & it just added depth to our MC, something that is sometimes sacrificed in YA Fantasy books for the sake of the plot. I am someone who prefers character driven books and can honestly say there was a healthy balance of both character & plot development in this duology. When an author creates characters I can’t help but get attached to it’s always my hope that we see more from them. Sarah Tolcser is now on my radar & I will pick up anything written in this world or not for that matter. For now, I won’t say goodbye…till next time 🐸🤞🏼🐸


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THE LADY JANIES ARE BACK WITH A SMASH HIT! BLOG TOUR: MY PLAIN JANE REVIEW + GIVEAWAY! 💙

Title: MY PLAIN JANE (THE LADY JANIES #2)

Author: Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

Pub. Date: June 26th. 2018

Genre: YA HISTORICAL FICTION/PARANORMAL/HUMOR

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 464

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | TARGET (EXCLUSIVE BONUS CHAPTER)

    

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

When I first read My Lady Jane last year, I giggled and snorted in the most random crowded places with absolutely NO regret! I still vividly remember how much fun I had reading that book & so when I heard My Plain Jane was on its way, I legit couldn’t contain my excitement! luckily for me, there are some AMAZING humans in this world and I was able to read an arc copy early on (thank you Sarah!). What I wasn’t expecting was to love it so much I didn’t want it to end! My Plain Jane shares many similarities with its predecessor except, it’s not a continuation in a series and can be read as a stand-alone (I still urge you to read My Lady Jane lest you miss out on all the laughs 😉). Humor infused with a paranormal twist, this is one Jane Eyre re-telling I could not put down! The Lady Janies quite literally took two of my favorites & meshed them together: 1. a love for all things Gothic Victorian and 2. Ghostbusters 😱😱😱 WHAT?!?! YES!!! These books are fun & best of all…they don’t take themselves too seriously allowing the reader to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the silliness of it all. The writing is once again seamless, The Lady Janies are these 3 wonderful authors who must share the same sense of humor. I’m convinced when I am reading that it’s only 1 author but in all reality I can’t tell where one starts and the other ends. This is to say, it has an organic flow and makes for such an enjoyable reading experience with unexpected laughs along the way.

💙Fan Made Book Trailer (and all other MPJ graphics here) by the Wonderful Sarah over at the YABOOKTRAVELER💙

Jane is an orphan who has the ability to see & speak to ghosts, she also enjoys painting and looks forward to a stress free life as a governess one day. The day comes sooner than she thought and Jane ends up in Thornfield Hall working for Mr. Rochester who has a pension for brooding. All the while, Jane has left the orphanage in the midst of a murder investigation. A Mr. Brocklehurst has been killed and his ghost is lingering behind in hopes of finding his killer. When the orphanage calls upon the services of the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, Alexander Blackwell shows up and crosses paths with Jane right before her departure to Thornfield Hall. He quickly makes out Jane for having Seer abilities and offers her employment in the agency. Jane turns down his offer choosing the more “practical” route of governess. Jane’s best friend Charlotte Brontë is also an orphan at the same orphanage. As an aspiring writer, she would love nothing more than her BFF to take up the mantle as paranormal detective. Charlotte finds Jane’s life to be MOST fascinating! and even has a little notebook where she writes stories inspired by Jane. Polar opposites, the friendship between Jane & Charlotte are serious #FRIENDGOALS 💓

This book was filled with ghosts, witty banter, social commentary, feminist empowerment, and so much more! If I had to pick a favorite character, I’d have to go with Charlotte who truly embodied the feminist movement. There is no telling Charlotte what she can or cannot do. Strategic, intelligent, and resourceful are just some of the words that describe this beloved character. The romance she gets caught up with is hella swoooooon worthy! When I realized this was a full on ghost busting story, my heart skipped beats! This book left me happy with a smile from ear to ear, the ending was PERFECTION!💙

We’re the authors of the young adult novels, MY LADY JANE, and MY PLAIN JANE, which is coming in June 2018. Our group is made up of Brodi Ashton (New York Times bestselling author of the EVERNEATH series and DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY), Cynthia Hand (New York Times bestselling author of the UNEARTHLY series, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, and THE HOW AND THE WHY), and Jodi Meadows (New York Times bestselling author of the INCARNATE trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN duology, and the FALLEN ISLES trilogy). Between the three of us we’ve written nineteen novels, a bunch of novellas, a handful of short stories, and a couple of really bad poems, but we have the most fun working on our books together. We’re friends. We’re writers. We’re fixing history by rewriting one sad story at a time.

💙 Win a signed copy of My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. Open US only.

🎉🎉Rafflecopter Link Here 🎉🎉

💙 Photo Challenge & Giveaway!

Share a photo or selfie with your copy of My Plain Jane and you could win a custom designed book sleeve, made by Second Hand Pages, a custom Jane Eyre candle from Canterbury Road Co, Jane Eyre (Barnes and Noble Collectible Edition), the Blu-Ray DVD of Jane Eyre, and a My Plain Jane Bookmark! For the photo, you can use your copy, a friends or one from the library. Use the hashtag #MyPlainJaneGiveaway to enter. Open to US only. Ends Sunday, July 8th.

 

Week 1
June 25 – The YA Book Traveler – Trailer & Review
June 26 – Alexa Loves Books – Gift Guide
June 27 – YA Wednesdays – Jane’s Playlist
June 28 – Novel Novice – Styled by Books
June 29 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Famous Janes
June 30 – A Backwards Story – Leaking Top Secret Dossier Files of Current ( Royal ) Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits Members
Week 2
July 2 – Bookcrushin’ – Supernatural Meets Jane Eyre – Tips for the Reluctant Ghost Hunter
July 3 – The Reader and the Chef – Guide to eating á la My Plain Jane (Bookish Menu) + Bookstagram Post
July 4 – The Clever Reader – Launch Event Recap
July 5 – Booknerd Addict – Review + Bookstagram Post
July 6 – Lair of Books – Review
July 7 – Mary Had a Little Book Blog – Famous ghosts & ghost hunters

Happy Friday Bookworms! Thank you so much for stopping by today, It’s been such a pleasure participating in the #MYPLAINJANE tour 💙 The 1st week alone has seen AMAZING news with My Plain Jane hitting the TOP 10 Bestsellers List! If you haven’t yet, check out the bloggers above who’ve come up with some of the most unique, fun, and creative blog posts to ever hit the net! Have you read My Plain Jane?!?! Plan to? let me know in the comments down below & best of luck to those who’ve entered the amazing Giveaway 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: LIFEL1K3 BY JAY KRISTOFF

Title: LIFEL1K3

Author: JAY KRISTOFF

Pub. Date: MAY 29th. 2018

Genre: YA SCI-FI

Publisher: KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS/RANDOM HOUSE

Pages: 416

Content Warning: Violence, suicidal thoughts, war themes, terminal illness, loss of a loved one

*HUGE thanks to Random House & Jay Kristoff for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

A high octane YA dystopian described best by the author as “Romeo And Juliet meets Mad Max meets Xmen meets Blade Runner.” LIFEL1K3 is set in a post apocalyptic/post nuclear war North America…specifically a fictional island called “Dregs” in “Kalifornya”where Cancer is the biggest threat to life. The story opens up in a brutal heart wrenching scene that sets the stage for what’s to come. Our MC Eve is a teen who is just living to survive the day to day struggle of surviving the nuclear war. Eve makes her living in the War Dome fighting rogue robots that have broken the First Law…

1. A ROBOT MAY NOT INJURE A HUMAN BEING OR, THROUGH INACTION, ALLOW A HUMAN BEING TO COME TO HARM

2. A ROBOT MUST OBEY THE ORDERS GIVEN TO IT BY HUMAN BEINGS EXCEPT WHERE SUCH ORDERS WOULD CONFLICT WITH THE FIRST LAW

3. A ROBOT MUST PROTECT ITS OWN EXISTENCE AS LONG AS SUCH PROTECTION DOES NOT CONFLICT WITH THE FIRST OR SECOND LAWS

 

Either by malfunction or willfull rebellion, these robots have turned against humans. Eve is a tinkerer like her grandfather and has built herself a Machina to battle these rogue robots for money in order to buy him his Cancer medication. All is seemingly well until the day everything goes wrong in the dome leaving her exposed and marking her as a target. From this day forward, Eve and her companions will be on the run for their lives. Pulse pounding action that will leave you at the edge of your seat bracing for the next attack, LIFEL1K3 was one wild ride! With plenty of plot twists along the way, I honestly had a couple of “Ohhhhh Wow” moments haha! I wasn’t expecting a YA sci-fi to have as much depth and layering as LIFEL1K3 did but it went above and beyond. Paired with such unique world building are characters you can’t help but get attached to and root for. Perhaps what makes LIFEL1K3 stand out most is that by the very end it’s not at all what you thought it would be 😉

 

Eve- a kick a** fighter, loyal to those she loves, a character who is definitely dealing with PTSD. I really felt for Eve and admired her resilience through it all

Lemon Fresh – Quick witted, amazing ride or die friend to Eve, willing to go to the ends of the earth for those she cares about. Lemon has so much gratitude in her heart & this made her my fave character in this book

Cricket – a robot created by Eve’s grandfather to protect her with his robotic life. I wasn’t too fond of this little guy (he hated being called little haha) because of the hurtful names he used to refer to Ezekiel specifically regarding his missing limb

Kaiser (Cyborg dog) – a robotic dog also created by Eve’s grandfather who you easily come to see as a real dog. Kaiser is very much a part of this crew

Ezekiel (LIFEL1K3) – The LIFEL1K3 aka Human-like, Zeke has this undying love for Eve & I’m not quite sure how I feel about him tbh. Zeke isn’t human but he sure has developed as one, has independent thoughts, and acts of his own accord. Personality wise I can’t say much though cause he came across dull to me & I’m not sure if that was purposefully done or not

🖤 All in all I LOVED these characters as a whole and Lemon is a new fave I can’t wait to read more from. Through the grapevine I’ve heard we may also get Lemon’s POV in the next installment *fingers crossed*

LIFEL1K3 is the first book I read outside of the Illuminae world from Kristoff and I walked away pretty much sealing the deal…I have found a new TOP favorite author. I rated this book 4.5 stars simply for one reason & that’s the fact that I struggled just a smidge with the slang created for this world. Everything feels so authentic in this world that it renewed my interest in the post apocalyptic reads but the language is quick & raw. Kristoff does an excellent job at teaching you the slang along the way but it wasn’t without some effort on my behalf. Besides this small thing, I absolutely enjoyed this fun action packed read & already miss the hell out of these characters. I love the reads where you don’t walk away unscathed & there’s plenty of room for theorizing for the next book. LIFEL1K3 has definitely left me with plenty to sit on until the next chapter which can either be viewed as cruel or ingenious & I’m going with the latter of the two 😉


LIFEL1K3 has hit the shelves & is already making fans out of readers. Have you read LIFEL1K3? If so, who is your favorite character? if not, are you adding it to your tbr now that you’ve seen the book trailer up above? 😂


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GUSH Spoiler Free Review: The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

Title: The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2)

Author: Rin Chupeco

Pub. Date: March 20th. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS FIRE

Pages: 528

Buddy Read: Melanie from Meltotheany

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

I read The Heart Forger, sequel to The Bone Witch around the time of its release and have yet to find any singles book or trilogy to top it in my favorites. Buddy reading this one with Melanie from Meltotheany who loves Rin Chupeco’s world building and characters as much as I did only further enhanced the whole experience. There are but a few I can count one hand authors who can transport you with their writing the minute you start a new chapter. The Bone Witch books are so much more than a story about Necromancy and a demon slayer. With so many layers and complex well fleshed characters, it’s a story about the bonds that keep us close to those we love most. Once again I found myself riveted and absorbed into Tea’s world not wanting the story to ever end. This Asian inspired Fantasy has introduced me to one of my favorite authors of all time & for that I am very thankful! 💜

Photo from Pinterest, not my own.

The events of The Bone Witch changed Tea and she voluntarily went into exile last we saw her. The Heart Forger picks up with Tea in exile waiting for the day when all would descend upon her. Bard the Chronicler is back with Tea documenting all of her life, both the good & the bad. Although things have already come to pass when we start the book, Chupeco worked her way back to the events leading up to where they are now. Too much can be considered spoilery & so I will stick to what I loved most about this sequel. Once again, the characters proved to be one of my favorite parts of this trilogy. Tea is definitely in a dark place but I won’t deny LOVING her I don’t give a hmm attitude! she’s come to be this powerful necromancer who can defeat Daeva aka demon creatures or control them. She chooses to control some and seeing her empathy with these creatures makes her more human where most of the time she’s viewed as cold and overly ambitious. Tea is still bonded to her brother Fox who passed away (given fact at the very beginning of The Bone Witch) and nothing makes me more happier than seeing the relationship between these two. Theirs is an unusual relationship given Fox is deceased and their bond allows them to be in each others head space. Yet Chupeco chose to maintain the same issues all siblings deal with which made for an authentic read. I enjoyed the moments where they practiced their fighting skills together & when they shoved each other out of one another’s mind in order to experience the more private sentiments alone.

With such a fantastic cast of main & side characters, It’s hard to choose a favorite! I did enjoy seeing Likh back in this world and standing up for what they believe in. Likh’s heartless is silver which means they’re fully intended to go study with the soldiers. However, Likh is a lover of all things fashion and design, life as a soldier is not something they can quite imagine a life in. It was AMAZING to see this character receive so much support by everyone. My heart legit felt full, the outpouring of love and support they received was one of the BEST scenes in this book. We also get to see Prince Kance on a different path where he’s taking his  royal responsibilities very seriously & perhaps realizing that Tea may not have a place in his future. Prince Kalen is back in the tinker room making Heartglass and setting up to be the next great one in his field. Prince Kalen, *giggle* yea…this guy was an unexpected surprise considering how much time he spends trying to protect Prince Kance from the dangers that come with being by Tea’s side. Hate to love relationships are one of my top fave tropes! and I say this with no shame! the relationship in this book was a slow burn but when it takes off, it soars! so many swoon worthy moments 💓 but if I had to pick a favorite, Tea remains my #1 💜 I love this character to the moon & back simply because she’s unapologetically herself.

Last year when I read The Bone Witch (see review hereI was BLOWN AWAY by Chupeco’s writing! Beautiful lush descriptions of a world that gave me Memoirs of a Geisha vibes with a Fantasy twist. I wasn’t expecting to get one of the BEST sibling relationships in all of YA, gender role positivity, actual dark necromancy, special bonds with animals & demons, and a steamy romance as the cherry on my sundae 💜 yet that is exactly what I got and so much more! If per chance you happened to have read The Bone Witch and felt that possibly it was a bit slow paced, worry not! The Heart Forger is a real page turner where the author stays true to their writing style while adding on awesome action sequences and vivid imagery. Chupeco actually gave us scenes where her necromancy was in over drive and Tea sees herself putting back together the bones of the dead! also, she’s learning some pretty neat runes and testing them out on herself & her brother was fun to watch. The character development is also worth mentioning, whether it be purposefully or not, Tea is much darker and willing to take risks and go the extra mile for those she loves. I’ll be honest, I’m a little worried about the consequences of how far she stretches the limits. Nonetheless, I am really looking forward to the final installment in this trilogy and also super curious about how it will end and whether Tea will get what she’s after…


Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a FAB Friday! 💜 have any of you read The Bone Witch and/or The Heart Forger? if so, comment down below with your fave character/aspect of these books 💓


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