Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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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. 

 

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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!

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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 🙂

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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 😉

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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).

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​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?

 

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CURRENTLY READING

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…

 

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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.

 

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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…

 

 

 

Review: The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

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The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Published by: Gallery Books

Date of Publication: August 16th 2016

Genres: Memoir/Autobiography/Humor

Pages: 323

Format: Audiobook (self-narrated)

Rating:★★★1/2 (3.5 Stars)

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is – a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friends – an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably – but only because it’s over.

 

The Audiobook Experience…

I guess I should preface by mentioning that before deciding to listen to The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo in audiobook format, I wasn’t familiar with Schumer’s stand-up comedy. I only knew that she had been in the movie Trainwreck which I saw the trailer to & immediately added it to my “Must Watch” list. I’m glad I decided to go with the audiobook as I do with all my funny ladies books because I don’t think I would have fared well with the physical book. Coming off the happiness high that was Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy, I was looking for another humor filled audiobook. Although The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo had a few laugh out loud worthy moments, the parts that I enjoyed the most were the stories that fell on the lesser than happy side of Amy. This is a collection of essays, some with humor & others with a bit of sadness. Schumer is very comfortable in her skin and sexuality, something that i’ve come to admire from her. Some of the standout stories in The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo explore some very dark life experiences including a years long abusive relationship & the very real issue of non-consensual sex with your significant other. Stories that crushed me with the heaviness of sadness, had to be whenever she touched on her fathers Multiple Sclerosis. There were the come-up stories in which she highlighted moments of gender stereotypes amongst her peers & the media. Last but not least Amy shared stories that allowed the reader an inside look to world issues that she cares deeply for like gun violence/control. She speaks about the shooting at a theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana during a showing of Trainwreck that led to the deaths of Mayci Breaux, 21, and Jillian Johnson, 33. How these deaths have greatly impacted her & motivated her to take action. Schumer shares her experience at the White House, meeting President Obama for the first time at an event where he announced his executive orders aimed at stemming gun violence. She may have no hairs on her tongue about a ton of things, but she learned how to be humble & we see just how life has made sure she stays true to herself. Making the choice to educate herself on gun control laws & no longer sit on the sidelines watching, has to be my favorite essay in this collection.

Final Thoughts

I love that Amy Schumer isn’t afraid to show everyone her flaws, mistakes, and vulnerabilities in such a raw way that we’ve come to know through her comedy. She is many things to many people & is very self aware. Often times letting her readers know that she is aware of how she comes across & the many misconceptions people have of her because she’s comfortable using sex in her comedy. She points out a well known fact…being of the female sex in an industry predominantly made up of the opposite sex JUST ISN’T EASY! like many other female comedienne’s, Amy has been judged heavily by everything other than her craft, this includes her weight & sex life. The fact that she embraces who she is & doesn’t apologize to those who frown upon her makes me LOVE this woman & has managed to pique my interest in following her career going forward.

P.S. Can we give it up for Amy & that COVER!!!! #Fierce  *insert flames here*

“I know my worth. I embrace my power. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story. I will. I’ll speak and share and fuck and love, and I will never apologize for it. I am amazing for you, not because of you. I am not who I sleep with. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you.” 
― Amy SchumerThe Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

Waiting On Wednesday 

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.



Title: The Education of Margot SanchezAuthor: Lilliam Rivera

Book: Hardcover, 304 pages

Expected Publication: February 21st 2017

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Reasons:

Let’s just start by getting this out of the way since when it comes to my books I can be a bit vain with no shame. The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera has an INSANELY STUNNING cover! from the yellow contrast against the black & white to our main protagonist’s BEAUTIFUL hair, I am experiencing some serious cover lust here Gals & Ghouls! Then we have the synopsis intro describe this story as “Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx” now this book is just after my heart, no doubt about it! you mention Pretty in Pink anywhere & I’m already pulling out my old Chucks haha! A coming-of-age story about a girl basically split between two very different worlds, that of her family & neighborhood vs. the life of a prep school student. I myself came from a Brooklyn neighborhood very similar to Margot’s Bronx neighborhood and chose to attend school in Manhattan in a neighborhood that was the complete opposite of my own. These types of stories are so rare & nuanced that I can’t help but gravitate towards them since I can see myself relating to the Margot’s of the world. I am looking forward to reading all about Margot’s dysfunctional family. I have a feeling that I am going to love these characters. I am a Latina woman (Puerto-Rican & Salvadorian) & I know how a Puerto-Rican family household marches…to the beat of their own drum!

Goodreads Synopsis:

Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal

Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal

This supermarket

Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…
Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

I am ready for this beautiful book to be in my hands & can’t wait to read & fall in love with Margot’s world. What’s on your Waiting On Wednesday? C’mon my bookish peeps, I have my Goodreads TBR open & ready for some love 😉💕

 

October Owlcrate & BOTM

 

October is already coming to an end but with it came my monthly subscription boxes…yup, that’s a plural I used there cuz I added a book subscription box to my life smh *covers eyes* in my defense, this other box is justified…kind of… sort of LOL! On to my boxes…

Owlcrate

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& if you’d like, follow me @Lair_Of_books 

Theme: Once Upon A Dream

  • Vassa In The Night by Sarah Porter (hardcover)
  • Passport (Oz inspired) from The Unemployed philosopher’s Guild
  • Bangle Charm Bracelet (Rumples spinning wheel) from The Geeky Cauldron
  • Beanie (Peter Pan inspired) from whositswhatsits
  • Button Bookmark by Myheartmytribe

I actually met Sarah Porter earlier in the month at New York Comic Con/Bookcon & received a signed finished hard cover copy of Vassa In The Night. Sarah seemed very lovely & wonderfully eccentric in full costume for the book event. Since I now have 2 finished copies of Vassa In The Night, I will be doing a giveaway soon since my 6 month blogoversary is coming up 😉

Book Of The Month

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@Lair_of_books

Book Of the Month is a monthly subscription service offering 5 selections each month ranging in genre. BOTM does a pretty awesome job at scouting reads that are great conversation starters & are truly thought provoking. The simplicity of the box also places all of the focus on the books themselves which is refreshing in a world full of subscription boxes with an array of themes. I subscribed to BOTM in hopes that it would get done what I haven’t been able to do in a while which is get back to reading Fiction. I LOVE Fantasy & Sci-Fi but I can’t say that I don’t miss the genre that got me into reading in the first place. In order to bring some FIC back into my life I subbed to BOTM. It also didn’t hurt that I received a $5 coupon for my first month 😉 I am really looking forward to reading The Mothers by Brit Bennett (hopefully in November) & trying out BOTM.

***Book came with box of mints, bookmark, and a letter from the BOTM judge who selected this book for the month of October.

Has anyone else subscribed to any of these boxes? if so, are you enjoying them? any BOTM subscribers out there? which book did you select for October? 🙂

 

 

Review: Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger

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Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger 

Published by: Touchstone

Date of Publication: June 7th 2016

Genres: Mystery Thriller/Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Pages: 352

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: ★★★★★ (4.75 stars)

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

An instant page-turner (Lisa Gardner) that straddles the line between thriller and horror…sure to appeal to a wide range of readers, including Stephen King fans. (Booklist, starred) A young woman’s mysterious gift forces her into the middle of a dangerous investigation of a little girl’s disappearance. 

Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is rarely alone. Visited by people whom others can’t see and haunted by prophetic dreams, she has never been able to control or understand the things that happen to her. When Finley’s abilities start to become too strong for her to handle – and even the roar of her motorcycle or another dazzling tattoo can’t drown out the voices – she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York.

Merri Gleason is a woman at the end of her tether after a ten-month-long search for her missing daughter, Abbey. With almost every hope exhausted, she resorts to hiring Jones Cooper, a detective who sometimes works with psychic Eloise Montgomery. Merri’s not a believer, but she’s just desperate enough to go down that road, praying that she’s not too late. Time, she knows, is running out.

As a harsh white winter moves into The Hollows, Finley and Eloise are drawn into the investigation, which proves to have much more at stake than even the fate of a missing girl. As Finley digs deeper into the town and its endless layers, she is forced to examine the past, even as she tries to look into the future. Only one thing is clear: The Hollows gets what it wants, no matter what.

 

I’d like to thank Touchstone for providing me with a eGalley of Ink & Bone by Lisa Unger via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I guess I should start off by saying that horror is NOT my thing! this gal right here has avoided the Freddy intro ever since first hearing it at the age of 10. I was the girl who avoided spook every Halloween & somehow always managed to get “accidentally” egged LOL. The mere mention of a spirit or ghost in my home was enough to keep me up several nights & my dear old g’ma used this as a way to get my sister & I settled down when being too rowdy at night. Fast Forward to 2016 & Spookathon Read-alongs are EVERYWHERE! can’t escape them. I decided to start Ink & Bone since it was described as a mystery thriller with an ominous cover but no mention of spook just a couple of psychics….I can do psychics right?…

Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger sunk its teeth into me from the 1st page & never let me go. It starts off with a prologue which I surprisingly enjoyed. It gives us a piece of the puzzle & lingers in your mind as the story unfolds. We get introduced to a couple who have been married for 16 years (unhappily so) with 2 kids. They are both night & day, Wolf is a writer and Merri is an editor. Wolf is also quite the charmer & the player, being unfaithful from day 1. Merri is aware of his philandering but has come to accept it as the norm, knowing that he hasn’t been faithful for longer than a year at a time. Merri also knows that Wolf loves her, they have amazing sexual chemistry, and when its good its great. Its the every day cycle of their lives as parents filled with repetition and very little adventure that bores Wolf. While carrying on a relationship with another woman (complete opposite of Merri), Wolf decides that the family needs a little getaway, packs them up, and heads to The Hollows. A town filled with mystery, death, and sadness but of course at the time Wolf had no idea. Wrapped up in his own needs & wants, Wolf hasn’t found a way to cut ties with his lover and instead is stringing her along. At the end of the day he knows that he loves Merri & that he wants to be faithful, that Merri is the only woman that can truly have a hold on his heart. It’s during a outing with the kids on a hiking trail in The Hollows that everything changes for the worse. Even though we are shown what happens in the prologue, I won’t do so beause I want you ALL to read it for yourselves & enjoy it just as much I did of course HAHA! the events however, only further put a strain on their marriage. Throw in resentment, regret, guilt and what you have is a recipe for divorce…or not? won’t give that away 😉

We also get introduced to Finley Montgomery who i’ve already added to my collection of fave female protagonists. Finley is described as having neon pink & black hair, tattoo sleeves (most of her back is covered), and a motor bike she rides all over town. Finley lives with her grandmother Eloise in The Hollows, they both are survivors of a tragic accident that left them with the powers to connect to the dead. Finley is able to see the dead who linger in this town with unresolved business. Kudos to Unger, the descriptions of these dead ones was haunting & bone chilling which led me to have to read Ink and Bone with the lights on. The Hollows is a place with abnormally high levels of abductions, murder, and abortions. It calls to others who like Finley, are able to see or feel those that have crossed over to the other side. It isn’t long before Finley’s path crosses with Merri & her family. Eleven months after the disappearance of Abbey (Merri & Wolf’s daughter), Meri still feels that there is hope and decides to resume her search by hiring an independent detective known for his work with psychics. Detective Jones Cooper has solved many cases alongside Eloise (Finley’s g’ma) but this time he will find himself working with Finley who is trying to learn how to control & set boundaries for her powers.

Thoughts

This book had me at the edge of my seat in certain parts & in others it had me searching for the light switch. The writing is haunting and a bit disturbing, I found myself wanting to know more about The Hollows but NEVER wanting to visit. The Hollows is described by Eloise to be some sort of vortex or place of power (maybe even a vacuum) that acts like a magnet for negativity which would explain all of the death. We even get to see dead spirits of three young girls who were accused & burned as witches. Unger brought The Hollows to life for me, it was a very atmospheric read that left me googling to see if it exists…haven’t found it yet (thankfully lol). I also felt that although there was resolution, we also get a sense that she’s leaving the door open for more. I can only hope that this gets turned into a series since there seems to be plenty of material & Finley is only just now getting acquainted with her powers. I did find The Whispering Hollows which is a collection of 3 short stories introducing us to The Hollows (before Ink and Bone was published) & I will be reading this in November since it’s only 159 pgs. & my curiosity for The Hollows is unusually great. If you’re looking for your next Booktober or fall read, Ink and Bone is the way to go 😉

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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

Ink & Bone by Lisa Unger

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Goodreads

I have about 100 pages left in this Mystery Thriller with psychics & JEEEEEZ! I’m at the edge of my seat seriously trying to keep it together here HAHA! Really enjoying this one Gals & Ghouls. Pick this one up if you’re looking for a quick & suspenseful read 😉

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

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Goodreads

Just started this in audiobook format yesterday & i’m about 35% in, so far it’s OK. I think my expectations are a bit high coming off of listening and LOVING Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy OR it really is just OK *shrugs shoulders* I will say that Amy doesn’t hold back and has no hair on her tongue which I admire. I’ve had a few awkward moments listening to this audiobook while multi-tasking outdoors. For example, paying for my lunch while listening to Amy describe orgasms…even though I knew the cashier couldn’t hear what I was listening to, I still managed to look like a deer caught in the headlights *hides face*

What did you recently finish reading?

Unnatural deeds by Cyn Balog

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Goodreads

I recently read & reviewed Unnatural Deeds (here) by Cyn Balog my very 1st YA Thriller which I succeeded in discussing with NO Spoilers. This is a book you want to go into completely blind. I knew there were some mixed reviews out there but I made sure to stay clear of them & it turns out that I enjoyed this one a whole lot. Unnatural Deeds will hit the shelves November 1st.2016

What do you think you’ll read next?

Gemina by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

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Goodreads

Words cannot describe how I felt when I read the last page to Illuminae a few months back smh but i’ll try…EPIC ADRENALINE RUSH!!!! that book left me reeling & jumping off my couch whooping & hollerin (haha) in the middle of the night. The wait for Gemina has been in the back of my mind ever since but I finally have what i’ve come to call Baby Blue in my hands! I reserved her in store this morning & hubby went and picked her up after work. Best day EVER Gals & Ghouls!!! I will be starting Gemina this week without a shadow of a doubt 😉

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Goodreads

Heartless has been on my list of most highly anticipated books of 2016, I nearly passed out when I managed to score an ARC at Comic Con/Bookcon earlier this month (Bookcon haul post). I went to the booth simply because I wanted a Heartless Tee & instead walked away with the beauty that is this book *silent thank you to Fierce Reads* I will be reading & reviewing Heartless right after Gemina since this is a November release. *Squeee* I can’t remember the last time I was this excited over so many good book releases in 1 season! *Happy Fall All*

Did any of you participate in WWW Wednesday? if so, drop that link & i’ll swing by  your blog for a peek. Also, I can’t stay calm…GEMINA HAS ARRIVED!!!!! ***whoop Whoop*

New York Comic Con/Bookcon 2016 Haul

Last weekend I attended my very first Comic Con which also happened to be hosting Bookcon for their very first time. The experience is one that i’ll never forget because of how much fun I had as well as the tips & tricks I picked up along the way. As a book blogger, Bookcon was definitely a motivator in buying my tickets since let’s face it, getting physical ARCS is no easy feat for small time bloggers like myself LOL. My hubby & I purchased the 3 day passes with hopes that all would fall into place as far as sitting for our 2 tiny humans and it did *Whoop Whoop* well on day 3 we didn’t have sitting but hubby gracefully bowed out while I attended with Gretchen @Chicnerdreads who was already set to go for the day.

Day 1 was a bit on the overwhelming side since we didn’t really know what to expect tbh. It was a huge crowd & I’ve never seen so many people come together for one event but i’m glad that it was this one. Everyone for the most part was friendly which is also rare cuz hellO! it’s New York jeje! as expected we spotted tons of Jokers & Harleys, seemed to be the popular costume choice of the year. Most of the entertainment panels I was interested in, took place in the evening which meant that I missed them. I arrived at opening and left each day between 2-4pm therefore I made the showroom floor my main focus with some occasional wanderings into artist alley. Bookcon itself was held in the building across the street from the Javits Center but it mostly was for the author panels. At the end of each panel, each author would be giving away an ARC of their new book. Most ARC giveaways were held in the Javits center on the showroom floor.

Days 2 & 3 were much more successful & is when we scored most of our ARCS. Day 3 (Sunday) being the MOST EPIC because all of the publishing houses were having crazy sales & giveaways since it was the last day of Comic Con. Below is my very 1st Bookcon Haul…

Books I purchased at reduced price:

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Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

  • Release Date: 10/25/2016
  • Urban Fantasy/Horror

The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh 

  • New paperback edition on sale now (The Rose & The Dagger will follow April 2017)
  • YA Fantasy-Fairy Tales

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

  • October 4th 2016
  • YA Mystery/Contemporary/LGBTQ

Replica by Lauren Oliver

  • October 4th 2016
  • YA Sci-Fi

The Female of The Species by Mindy McGinnis

  • September 20th 2016
  • YA/Contemporary/Mystery/Thriller

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

  • August 30th 2016
  • Fantasy/Middle Grade

YA ARCS: 

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The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

  • November 1st 2016
  • YA/Sci-Fi/Dystopia

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

  • November 8th 2016
  • YA Fantasy/Re-telling

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

  • January 10th 2017
  • YA Fantasy/Re-telling

The Edge Of Everything by Jeff Giles

  • YA Fantasy

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James (author signed)

  • YA Fantasy

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston THANK YOU GRETCHEN @CHICNERDREADS!!! she gave me her copy cuz she knew how badly I wanted this ARC & missed it 2 days in a row *covers eyes*

  • February 14th 2017
  • YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

  • March 28th 2017
  • YA Historical Fantasy

The Freemason’s Daughter by Shelley Sackier

  • April 11th 2017
  • YA Historical Fiction

Non-YA ARCS (hehe)

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The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood

  • October 6th 2016
  • Historical Fiction/Horror/Mystery

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

  • January 10th 2017
  • Thriller/Mystery/Suspense

The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden (signed by author)

  • January 17th 2017
  • Historical Fiction/Fantasy

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

  • February 7th 2017
  • Sci-Fi Fantasy/Time Travel

Published books obtained through Signings/in booth giveaways

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The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin (signed by author)

  • August 4th 2015
  • Sci-Fi Fantasy

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

  • October 11th 2016
  • YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Vassa In The Night by Sarah Porter (signed by author)

  • September 20th 2016
  • YA Fantasy/Re-telling

Comics Purchased

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Lazarus (Volume 1) Greg Rucka, Michael Lark (Artist), Santiago Arcas (Illustrartor) (gift from hubby)

Black #1 by Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith III (illustrator), Jamal Igle (Illustrator), Robin Riggs (Illustrator), Sarah Stern (Illustrator), Khary Randolph (Illustrator), Dave Sharpe (Illustrator), Sarah Litt (Editor) (signed by Tim Smith)

Bookish Freebies

Penguin Journal, Carve The Mark phone charger (universal), and the Heartless tee given away by Fierce Reads as a cover for the real score LOL (Heartless ARC)

I don’t even know where to start but I am beginning to form some sort of TBR for the rest of the year leading into 2017 🙂