Review: Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Title: Heart Of Iron

Author: Ashley Poston

Pub. Date: February 27th, 2018

Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper

Pages: 480

Format: eGalley

Conetnt Warning: attempted suicide

*HUGE thanks to Balzer + Bray/Harper, Edelweiss, and Ashley Poston for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

   

Heart Of Iron immediately appealed to my love for all things Sci-Fi & the bio pitched a ragtag crew of outlaws that I just had to meet on the pages. I’m not familiar with the story of Anastasia but it’s now on my list of flicks to watch during one of my ME time days. That being said, I went in strictly for the space adventure, outlaws, and D09 cause whether he was a droid, robot, or A.I., this is my sweet addiction & it all started with a sassy android named Iko but I digress…

We meet Ana and D09 in the opening scene as they are about to get themselves into some trouble. She was warned by the captain of her ship not to deal with a shady info broker who fell through on their last deal. However, Ana is feeling desperate. D09’s memory core is glitching & time is running out, she figures why not try her luck since they’re out of options & need to find D09 a replacement. The info broker is meeting with a Iron Blood aka of the elite class to sell him the coordinates Ana & D09 are looking for. These coordinates lead to a ship where they believe they can find the solution to D09’s memory core glitch. Things of course don’t always go as planned & so begins the fast paced adventure between Ana, D09, and a Iron Blood who is also searching for answers…

Ana- Our MC  is a bit of a loose cannon, she’s willing to take all the risks as long as it means saving D09 from permanently dying down due to his memory core glitch. I found Ana a bit frustrating, she wasn’t above putting her crew mates in jeopardy & it just made her look hella selfish.

D09- the android Ana loves, D09 cannot process feelings…he shouldn’t technically have them to begin with. We see him call these feelings he is having “glitches” & so the chemistry between him & Ana never really sets off until the very end.

Rob- The Iron Blood who happens to be a Royal, more specifically he is the youngest heir to the throne. Rob is searching for his father who he was told perished back in the rebellion led by Metals (this is what they call droids like D09). Rob is actually one of my fave characters in this book, the author ships him with Jax (see below) & I found his inner dialogue whenever Jax is around to be so endearing! ❤

Jax- The pilot of the ship & another one of my faves! he is confident as hell & isn’t afraid to show it. Jax comes from a race of people who used to be able to read the future in the stars. He holds some secrets that make him all the more interesting. I would’ve loved to have had more time with this character…also his need to protect Rob is seriously swoon worthy!

Crew- I seriously NEED more of this crew! we have MC who is a POC, a gay pilot, a lesbian Captain & her wife, and a disabled crew member. LEGIT I was LIVING for this crew!

My only wish was to have had more time with these characters. Told in short multiple POV chapters, I found it very hard to connect with any of the characters. I do favor character driven over plot driven stories but welcome with open arms any book that manages to balance these both out. Heart of Iron is definitely more plot & action. Nonetheless, I appreciate the diversity in this cast & hope to spend more time with them in the follow-up.

This is a first for me…Heart of Iron was a real page turner & I really enjoyed this story. The bits & pieces of world building we were given throughout the crews adventure was SOOOO interesting! but that’s just it, it was scattered & sparse making for a disjointed reading experience. I LOVED this crew but the short chapters made it hard to connect with any one of them. We get some history on a rebellion that took place when the Metals took up arms against humans that I really wanted more info on. There’s this process called “HIVE” where I assume Metals free will is taken away & it’s made mandatory for all as a direct result of the rebellion. However, not all Metals are evil & there was a time where they helped & were medics to humans. There’s a scene where humans are viciously attacking a Metal who isn’t hurting anyone, he was just trying to show his respect at a royal event. This piqued my interest…how many other Metals are out there living in hiding…not HIVED? I have many questions & can honestly say I will be picking up the follow-up in hopes of satisfying my curiosity. Heart of Iron was a fast paced fun adventure that will have you flipping pages til the wee hours of the morning. Yes it’s true I wanted more from the characters & world building, but I’m choosing to see this as a sign that I enjoyed what I read & look forward to seeing what Poston serves up next 😉


Hello Bookworms!!! Happy FriYay! I hope you’re all having an amazing day & enjoying some great reads. I have been on such a sci-fi kick this month and it’s been so much fun discovering new authors. Heart of Iron hits shelves Tuesday 2/27/18, will you be picking up a copy? Sound off in the comments! ❤ ❤ ❤


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Review: The Armored Saint by Myke Cole

Title: The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne #1)

Author: Myke Cole

Pub. Date: February 20th, 2018

Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy

Publisher: Tor Books

Pages: 208

Format: Physical ARC

*HUGE thanks to Tor Books and Myke Cole for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

    

In a world where any act of magic could open a portal to hell, the Order insures that no wizard will live to summon devils, and will kill as many innocent people as they must to prevent that greater horror. After witnessing a horrendous slaughter, the village girl Heloise opposes the Order, and risks bringing their wrath down on herself, her family, and her village.

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I’m singing this books praises to you all today cause it is well worth it & so much more! coming in at 208pgs, The Armored Saint has to be one of the top Fantasy books I’ve read in a really long time. Set in a small town, we meet Heloise and her father Samson as they go about their every day routine  of earning their living. Samson is a man of letters & travels light with only his quills, paper, and ink pot. It is during one of their travels down the road that they encounter The Order who are the equivalent of soldiers, these men are to serve the throne & rid evil from the world. It is believed that demons on the other side of the living world can possess humans. When The Order stops Samson & Heloise it is to ask them for directions to a neighboring town. Seeing them out in full force is never a good sign & this scene pretty much set the tone for the rest of the book. We got to know both Heloise and Samson in that brief interaction & all of the events that took place after that encounter felt like a domino effect. The fear that these characters feel is palpable & the tension is so thick that I read this book at the edge of my seat hoping they’d all make it through. I realized that I wasn’t the only one, all of the townspeople were hoping they weren’t next to be accused of harboring demons…

“Suffer No Wizard To Live”

The “Veil” is compromised and so The Order must make rounds looking for those that show signs of being possessed. The townspeople follow the law or the ways of The Writ which is sort of like their bible & anyone caught speaking against it can be accused of being possessed by demons. I totally got The Crucible vibes while reading certain passages where the townspeople out of fear were made to look unto their neighbor for any behavior that wasn’t considered “normal.” The Order however, isn’t some by the book group of men looking to do good & banish evil. They abuse their power & hide behind the royal banner. Perhaps what makes them even more evil than the demons they’re trying to excorcise is that they don’t actually get their hands dirty when they find said evils. Instead they have what are called Knittings & no they’re not the kind your sweet grandmother partakes in…these are much more scarier. When someone is accused of being a wizard, The Order comes through lining up all of the towns people & under their order the people must take up pitchforks to kill the accused. Failure to comply places you & your loved ones in jeopardy of being accused of protecting a wizard & harboring evil magic.

The characters in this town have all known each other for many years & their children have all grown up together. Up until the day The Order came around their town, Heloise spent her days with her bff Basina talking about their futures. Her biggest fear was the more than platonic love she felt for Basina. However, on the road where she & her father faced The Order, Heloise was forced to age years in a matter of minutes. She saw her father in a new light, he was no longer the pillar of strength & safety every good father works so hard to have their child believe. He was just a man keeping his head down in order to keep her safe. The rebellion this stirred within Heloise led to what many considered reckless but in her defense, it seemed like it was out of her control whether she reacted or not. Heloise was someone who grew up believing in The Writ & what they did to rid the kingdom of all evil. When she starts seeing their actions in each town, it’s like a veil is lifted and the part of her that seeks justice takes over.

I truly thought this was just going to be a story about herd mentality and how easy it is to instill fear in a group of people to establish control. It is the aforementioned, however it’s also a story about heroes. Many of the characters in this story were actually selfless in time of need. Heloise wasn’t someone who fooled herself into thinking she could save everyone from The Order & many others who didn’t think they’d sacrifice their own safety to help another in need, stepped up to the plate. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book! the characters & world building were so well fleshed out. The fantastical/supernatural elements made their presence known yet they didn’t overpower the characters. When we finally get to see truths come to light, I was left pleasantly surprised. There’s also discussion about sexuality & the judgment of others in a world where homosexuality is not accepted. With a bi-sexual MC and one of the supporting characters alluding to being Gay, I found myself getting very invested in Heloise & her journey. The Armored Saint is a FANTASTIC start to a new adult Fantasy series! & Myke Cole is now on my radar which means, I’m going to need to read all of the books I hope he’s already writing 🙂


Happy Monday Bookworms! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend with amazing reads. The Armored Saint hits shelves TOMORROW February 20th! & this is one you won’t want to miss <3’s!


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The Valentine’s Day Book Tag

The Valentine’s Day Book Tag was originally created by CC’s Books and As Told by Tina! & I was tagged by the wonderful Mel over at Mel To The Any <3! Thank you Mel XoXo! ❤  Now I know Valentine’s Day was yesterday & some may say that it’s over but…LOL! I don’t celebrate my Valentine’s til’ tomorrow Friday. Such are the woes of a city gal always on the go with two tiny humans 😉
I hope you all had wonderful day yesterday whether you celebrate the holiday or not cause I love ya! I had so much fun watching all of my IG stories and Booktube Q&A’s with significant others & Galantines. Next year I definitely want to squeeze in a date night with my BFF cause it’s been a minute…but I digress haha! onto the tag..

1. Stand Alone Book you love

Although If I’m really being honest here I really could go for more Eliza & her world *SOBS*

2. Dystopian Book you Love 

This book! Gah! Mesmerizing while at the same time carrying a deeper message. This is one you won’t want to miss out on. I am FULLY supporting & showing my love for this book for many reasons, the main one being that in this world Clayton has given us a society who loves all skin tones & complexions. The social commentary on body image & high standards set by this fictional society really mirrors our own. There’s also LGBTQIA+ rep with three of the characters, one of them plays a main role & sexuality in this society is fluid–two women marrying would be considered normal by their society as subtly mentioned in the book (my heart warmed when I read this). I LOVED This book to pieces!!!!

3. A book that you love but no one else talks about 

Why am I not seeing more Bookworms talking about this BEAUTIFUL gem of a book?!?! for all but especially those who enjoy literary fiction from time to time…this YA book about 3 generations of women will warm your heart & leave you smiling! almost entirely made up of female MC’s this book covers an older matriarch, her children & her grandchildren…GAH! LOVED it & want to see more books like this one hit our shelves 🙂

4. Favorite Book Couple 

 Mustang & Darrow- Red Rising Saga…these two are fierce alone & together they’re a force to be reckoned with.

5. Book that other people love but you haven’t gotten around to read 

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor...with reason Bookworms LOL! Laini is one of my top 3 fave authors & I just couldn’t bear the wait til the sequel but now that we have cover art, guess what time it is?!?! (U.K. cover for Muse of Nightmares has yet to be released but this stunner down below is already giving it a run for my $$$)

6. A book with Red on the cover 

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, a recent add-on to my BOTM box that I am really looking forward to reading soon 🙂

7. A book with Pink on the cover 

 A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena. My awesome friend Flavia over at Flaviathebibliophile was kind enough to get me a arc copy of this book signed by the author! & I am over the moon happy to get started on it very soon 🙂

8. You were given a book of chocolate what fictional boyfriend/girlfriend would give them to you. 

ummm well after this last book (Iron Gold) I don’t know how I’d receive this gesture but I think if Darrow walked up to me with some chocolates I’d be lying if I told you I’d say no….#jussayin

9. You are Single on Valentine’s Day. What Book would you read? What TV show would you watch? What Movie would you watch?

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne which I haven’t read yet but the hype is real & it seems ideal for the day & as for what I’d watch… It’s a tie btwn Sleepless in Seattle and Love & Basketball < ❤ ❤ ❤

10. You are in the Book Store. All of the sudden you get shot with an arrow by Cupid. What New Release will you love. 

Easily Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda cause the Universe has been screaming BLOODY READ IT ALREADY! @ me 😉 oh & BTW I’m counting this because the new special edition released 1/30  includes new Simon and Blue emails, a behind-the-scenes scrapbook from the Love, Simon movie set, and Becky Albertalli in conversation with fellow authors Adam Silvera and Angie Thomas….basically all of my faves Gushing about this book *eeeeeK*

11. Spread the Love Who do you tag? 

On every other tag I usually list a few but I am a day late with this so instead I’ll say…you’ve all been tagged by me 😉
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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WWW Wednesday 2/14/2018

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?

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

I’m 30% into Heart of Iron & so far it’s the characters that have really drawn me in. I’m still learning the world & its history which so far is pretty straight forward. I’m typically weary when I come across a large cast of characters in YA Fantasy because I LOVE character driven stories & so the more fleshed out the characters are, the more attached I am to their story. So far the crew on the ship has been introduced, all outlaws with strong loyalty bonds towards each other. So far I’m LOVING the character Jax who is a Solani described as having a long silvery white braid, silver eyelashes and violet eyes. Jax is the Pilot on the ship & its his charm & confidence that really have me smiling when I get to his chapters. There’s also a “Metal” who is sort of a A.I. robot & although I’m still getting to know him, I already loving reading his though process. I plan on reading a chunk today so we shall see how it moves along…

Honor Among Thieves The Honors #1) by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

I recently read, reviewed, and LOVED Honor Among Thieves here. This is one YA Sc-Fi that I know I’ll be following til the very end. Every time I picked it up for my commute or nightly reading I found myself getting absorbed by the characters. Also realllllly weird relationship between human & alien #Jussayin…that I couldn’t help but cheer on even though a part of me was like…what is going on? is this what I think it is? smh extra brownie points for making me feel awkward in a good way? haha! 🙂

The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne #1) by Myke Cole

My first Adult Fantasy of the year & I’m so glad that it was a 5 star read.Coming at 208pgs. I really underestimated how much story could be packed in considering I’m used to reading bigger books. Whelp! author Cole sure showed me & no I’m seriously hoping the sequel soon follows. I have a review for The Armored Saint going up this Friday! 🙂

Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate Queen #2) by Tricia Levenseller

Ok…I can barely! contain my excitement over my next read *eeeeK* I CANNOT wait to dive back into this fun world with Alosa & her crew! I expect to be completely absorbed with this book  into the weeee hours of the morning *coffee on deck* I was introduced to this story last year & since then haven’t stopped thinking of these characters. My review for Daughter of the Pirate King here.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Finally!!! To Kill a Kingdom! I really didn’t think I’d get a copy of this one but Netgalley pulled through for this bookworm. I will be buddy reading To Kill a Kingdom with Melanie from Mel To The Any starting this Sunday the 18th through the 22nd & I CAN’T WAIT!!! I’m really hoping we love this one cause it’s friggin Ursula & for years as a kid she was bigger than the boogey man to me haha! *fingers crossed* 


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, sound off in the comments down below! ❤ ❤ ❤


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Review: Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

Title: Honor Among Thieves (The Honors #1)

Author: Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

Pub. Date: February 13th, 2018

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/Harper

Pages: 309

Format: eGalley & Physical ARC

Trigger Warning: Physical/Child abuse

*HUGE thanks to Katherine Tegen Books/Harper, Edelweiss, Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

   

Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.

My first YA Sci-Fi of the year & I ABSO-FRIGGIN-LUTELY LOVED IT! When we meet our MC Zara, she is on the streets trying to survive in a cut throat world. Her mother & sister have moved to Mars, she opted to stay behind as a emancipated young adult and her father…whelp more on that situation in the characters section of this review down below. I inhale read 90% of this book in 24hrs, sleep ended up winning the battle in the end but I picked it up as soon as I woke up the next morning & GAHHHH! well worth my time! as previously mentioned, Zara is on the streets and has turned to petty crime. She has one friend who is addicted to drugs & they have a very co-dependent relationship. Stealing & selling to street sharks is how she gets by until the day she steals from the daughter of a very wealthy & powerful man. Once she realizes she’s being hunted for a very specific gadget she stole, Zara goes ghost in an effort to avoid being captured. She goes through drastic measures to ensure she is tossed back into a rehabilitation program that focuses on “helping” youth by reconditioning them to go back into society as upstanding citizens. This is all in efforts to avoid the powerful clutches of those intent on squeezing her for info on the gadget she stole.

The story then truly begins while Zara is keeping her head low in the rehab facility where she realizes there really isn’t anywhere she can hide. The Honors program recruits her, a never before seen move. This program was created in partnership with the Leviathan who are Aliens that are credited for saving the human race from total annihilation. They have saved many planets from extinction and in turn, The Honors Program allows the recruitment of 100 youth from Earth & other planets. Until Zara’s recruitment, there was always a type the Leviathan chose. Selected in pairs, there is always 1 musician & 1 scientist…Zara is neither of these. Seeing as she doesn’t have much of a choice if she wan’ts to stay alive, she accepts her role. The Leviathan are aliens that act sort of like spaceships in the sense that the Honors all have to board a Leviathan. The Objective of the year long program is for humans & Leviathans to learn from each other in order to improve their quality of life. Of course there’s more than meets the eye to this program & finding out just what that is will be Zara’s real objective…

Zara- at first I thought we’d be getting the same kick a** strong female MC we’ve grown accustomed to in YA. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Zara is the first of her kind I’ve seen in any of the books I’ve come across. To say she’s had a rough life would be downplaying it. From the age of 6 she’s suffered from chronic headaches & having a hardcore religious father meant being subjected to unorthodox methods of healing. As a survivor of child abuse, Zara has detached herself from her parents. Her only loyalties are to herself & she’s managed to stay alive on the streets by always being on the move. Getting recruited into the Leviathan program has a major effect on her fierce need to not be tethered to any person,place, or thing. She’s also not used to having anyone care for her & I really enjoyed seeing the character development with Zara as the story progressed.

Parents & Sibling- We see that Zara does love her mother but unfortunately, her mother didn’t know how to protect her when she had the chance. It leads to sort of a love from afar type of situation that aches whenever they’re close & things are great because it’s temporary. Zara does have a younger sister she loves deeply & plays the overprotective sister role to.It’s her relationship with her father that is beyond repair. There were some tough scenes where she recollects moments of physical abuse at the hands of her very religious father. Zara’s dad really gives a whole new meaning to scumbag.

Beatrice- Zara’s partner on the Leviathan she is assigned to. Beatrice aka Bea is musically inclined, with a beautiful voice it makes sense why the Leviathan have chosen her to join the expedition. Bea is Brazilian and knows 4 different languages, with a large family waiting for her return to Earth, she is the exact opposite of Zara. Thankfully, their friendship was very positive & I LOVED seeing how well they meshed together.

Nadim- Saved the best for last! The Leviathan Zara & Bea are assigned to could not have been a better match. Nadim is a young alien & shares one thing in common with Zara…an aversion to following the rules. Nadim does try to adhere but more often that not, he goes off course. In this book Nadim is referred to as being a “he” but I loved how that was discussed because Leviathan don’t really have a assigned gender. The relationship that develops between Zara & Nadim can be described as unconventional & I still can’t tell you what exactly these two have going on LOL! but ummm…it gets innnneresting 😉

I’m going to keep this sections short cause when I love a book it’s really tough for me to pick it apart. I think it’s so bad a** when I come across a book collaboration where the synchronocity between the authors make for a seamless reading experience. I really couldn’t tell you where Rachel Caine’s writing stops & Ann Aguirre’s begins. I’ve read books in the past that take place in one specific setting for the entirety of the story & it just didn’t work. Honor Among Thieves takes place for the most part inside of Nadim the Leviathan in outer space & I could not get enough of these characters & their world. The only thing I would’ve liked to have a bit more insight on is the subplot involving Zara & the very powerful man she stole from when we first start this journey. Since I feel as if this will be explained in the follow-up, It didn’t take away from the story for my reading experience. We know early on that there’s more than meets the eye to the whole Leviathan program & Zara is hell bent on discovering their secrets & whether or not they have a hidden agenda. This plot progresses at a steady pace but it’s the evolution of Zara & Nadim that made for a story I just couldn’t put down. I also love the fact that we get to see some of the aliens that inhabit other worlds who have joined the Leviathan program. We get introduced to a diverse set of characters that represent all corners of the worlds & who will need to band together if they want to survive what’s to come. I HIGHLY reccomend this book to anyone who loves Sci-Fi, I’m probably going to be gushing about this one for a while & have already sent my arc copy along to another blogger buddy who I know will LOVE this book to pieces! I’ve also gone ahead & added both Rachel Caine’s & Ann Aguirre’s previous series to my TBR cause they’re my new favorites! ❤ ❤ ❤


Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re having a wonderful day <3’s! Honor Among Thieves hits shelves tomorrow 2/13 & I’ve been bitten by the Sci-Fi bug. Please leave any reccs you may have for me down below in the comments & in return I ask you pick up this AWESOME book cause I’d like to fangirl haha! ❤ ❤ ❤


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WWW Wednesday 2/7/2018

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?

The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne #1) by Myke Cole

More like I’m starting this today & so I’m counting it as Currently Reading haha! I first came across this book at NYC Comic Con, the author was doing a signing but it was for the weekend for which I didn’t have tickets. I e-mailed the Publisher & was so kindly sent a arc copy. Since it’s only 208pgs, I expect to inhale read this one by the end of this week *fingers crossed* I’ve heard only good things & hope to LOVE it & fall into a new adult Fantasy series 🙂

In a world where any act of magic could open a portal to hell, the Order insures that no wizard will live to summon devils, and will kill as many innocent people as they must to prevent that greater horror. After witnessing a horrendous slaughter, the village girl Heloise opposes the Order, and risks bringing their wrath down on herself, her family, and her village.

Honor Among Thieves (The Honors #1) by Rachel Cane & Ann Aguirre

I actually finished this one this morning & OHMYGAHHH! I seriously LOVE this book to pieces! I have a GUSH review coming either tomorrow or Friday. I have to get the feels out while they’re still fresh haha! If you’re looking for a YA Sci-Fi with Diversity, EPIC adventure, space exploration, Aliens, a sarcastic MC who self preserves like no other….this one is for you! The character development was A+++ I highlighted so many lines in my galley I can’t wait to look over just because some are straight humorous & others give a real understanding of what made our MC the person she is when we meet her. SO much good in this book & the writing! can’t tell where Caine leaves off & Aguirre begins, the synchronicity is flawless! I’m going to stop here before I write my review here bu seriously February 13th pick this one up & then come back & gush about it, I’ll be waiting 🙂

Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) by Pierce Brown

Nothing could prepare me for this read! NOTHING! This was definitely a piece of humble pie for our MC & it hurt so bad but I can’t say it wasn’t necessary. I buddy read Iron Gold with my hubby & when he finished we spent the night tossing theories back & forth over that ending where Pierce will take this story come September. Dark Age (book 5) is right around the corner but the title alone *concerned emoji* has me wondering…Since this is book 4 in a ongoing saga, I won’t do a full review but instead a mini re-cap possibly on Sunday for those Howler Book Bloggers out there that have already read it 😉

I was going to include the Goodreads synopsis but I’m always weary of really longs blurbs, I fear spoilers like the plague! but if you click on the Goodreads icon below you’ll be taken to that presumably spoilery blurb. Anyways, this is another YA Sc-Fi I caught wind of a few months ago & I couldn’t resist cause sentient androids are my jam & that cover wouldn’t stop calling my name so yea. Also it sounds like there’s a pretty awesome crew in this book so I’m REALLY wishin’ & hopin’ there are some characters I end up loving to tiny pieces! *fingers crossed* Heart Of Iron will be out in the wild on February 27th! the hype is serious on this one bookworms! wish me luck 🙂


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, sound off in the comments down below! ❤ ❤ ❤


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January Book Haul & Wrap-Up

Happy February Bookworms! I come to you with my belated January Wrap-up & Book Haul. In December I had decided to separate these post & enjoyed the outcome however, something MOST unprecedented occurred & no one is more surprised than myself!…I only purchased 1 book!!! yea I know, never have I ever practiced self control in the book buying department & can honestly say it wasn’t intentional which is probably the only reason why it worked out that way. I’m not good at book buying bans but my pockets did thank me in January for the break. I also think my reading had a big role to play in my inactive book buying. I was enjoying mostly everything I was reading & so every minute I had to spare saw me nose deep in my current read. I’d love to come on here & say I had an exciting month overall but tbh, January saw me hunker down at home. There wasn’t anything really exciting in the theater and all of my favorite tv shows returned lol so I got nice & cozy on my couch with my favorite blanket and bonded with my DVR. I did discover 1 new tv show I’m pretty much obsessed with but more on that at the end of this post 😉

I buddy read Iron Gold with my hubby & although he’s not yet finished, we share a lot of the same feelings about this 4th installment in the Red Rising Saga. We’re very happy to see Pierce Brown continue on with our beloved characters & after THAT ending…I need the next book like I need air (good thing it’s out in September). I will be posting a mini non-spoilery review some time this week for Iron Gold. Overall I am very happy with my January reading & hope for the same in the verrrrrrry short month of February *fingers crossed* 🙂

Love Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed ★★★★★ (5 STARS)

Meet Cute by various authors ★★★★ (4 STARS)

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert ★★1/2 (2.5 STARS)

The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis ★★★★ (4 STARS)

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton ★★★★1/2 (4.5 STARS)

Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) by Pierce Brown ★★★★1/2 (4.5 STARS)

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Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) | Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them | Saga Vol. 8

*Iron Gold & Fantastic Beasts were gifts from the hubby

Ace Of Shades | Everything Here Is Beautiful | Love Hate & Other Filters | Whisper of The Tide (Song of the Current #2)

Circe | To Kill A Kingdom | Sky In The Deep

January FairyLoot

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The Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black (My Spoiler-free review)

Book Of The Month

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As Bright As Heaven | A Gentleman In Moscow

ABOUT THE SERIES 

On Chicago’s south side, an average day finds kids prepping for school as their parents head off to work, young adults trying to make a living, and the elders keeping an eye on things from their front porches. But in this tough neighborhood, real dangers threaten daily to squelch dreams, and the simplest decisions can have life or death consequences. From Emmy® winner Lena Waithe, The Chi is a timely coming-of-age drama series centered on a group of residents who become linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption. –Showtime Official

Thoughts so far…

I stumbled across a subway advertisement for this show & knew I’d be checking it out that weekend. It’s only about 4 episodes in so far & I can already say this will be one of my fave new series for 2018. Powerful & often times sobering, The Chi doesn’t hold back. Many of the dangers faced by the residents in this small Chicago neighborhood are more common than not. We follow different characters in their every day lives, they all vary in age and all are linked in one way or another. My favorite character is Kevin played by Alex Hibbert who is just a kid trying to stay out of trouble but trouble seems to always find him. Kevin is in school & we see him with his friends doing normal kid things. It’s when school’s out & he goes back to his neighborhood that we see why Kevin has a #survivalofthefittest mentality. More thoughts to come at the end of this first season 🙂


Hello Bookworms! hope you’re already off to a fab start in February 🙂 & that you’re already reading your next favorite book…I’m currently reading YA Sci-Fi Honor Among Thieves & gahhhhh! so damn good haha! What are you all reading? Sound off in the comments below <3’s!


Spoiler Free Review: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Title: The Belles

Author: Dhonielle Clayton

Pub. Date: February 6th, 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 448

Format: eGalley & Physical ARC

*HUGE thanks to Disney Hyperion, Netgalley and Dhonielle Clayton for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

    

The Belles is the type of book that will sink it’s teeth into you without you ever noticing. The opening scene sets the stage for this lush & colorful world, leaving you hypnotized by all Orléans has to offer. The Belles are introduced to us readers & the royal court on their 16th birthday. Beautiful carriages stream in one by one, each carrying a Belle named after a specific flower. Each one will be introduced to the royal family & each one will hope to be chosen as the “Favorite.” The Favorite will solely tend to the needs of the royal family while the others are assigned to the different tea houses in the land where they will provide a service. Born with a special gift, The Belles are the only ones that can bring beauty to a otherwise gray world & people. Their services are sought out by the wealthy who can afford to pay the hefty price for beauty.

“Belles are the descendants of the Goddess of Beauty, blessed with the Arcana to enhance the world and rescue the people of Orléans”

We are introduced to our MC Camellia Beauregard whose mother once was the Royal family’s Favorite, and whose footsteps she hopes to follow. Camellia & her sisters are recieved by the court with great celebration, a vote will be cast for the Favorite. Camellia wants the coveted position of Favorite more than anything in the world but so does her closest sister Ambrosia. Both Camellia & Ambrosia have shown great skill with their power called the Arcana, a power that is not without it’s consequences if misused. The Royal family is hiding many secrets & The Belles are unfortunately pawns used to maintain appearances. The Favorite will find herself pushing the limits of the Arcana at the risk of her own destruction. Filled with plot twists and political intrigue, this book had me on my toes trying to figure out the next move in the game.

“Always remember that emotions are tethered to the blood, and the blood is where your gifts are. Any excess passion can cause contamination and too much pressure. It can damage the Arcana. I cannot stress this enough.”

We’re introduced to Camellia, Ambrosia, Edelweiss, Padma, Valeria, and Hana on their 16th birthday. Although each one doesn’t get a ton of page time, their personalities definitely jumped off the page, some more than others. The MC Camellia has a reputation for being a rebel & going against the rules set for The Belles, she’s very unpredictable. Camellia wants nothing more than to follow in her mother’s footsteps, she is ambitious & confident in her Arcana. I enjoyed meeting a MC who walked into the story with confidence & determination, she refused to allow self doubt to creep in. Camellia’s only real competition is Ambrosia who she is most closest to having been raised together by their Mamans aka Mothers. The Belles for the most part get along well & treat each other like sisters. They’ve been raised together since infancy & so we see the typical sibling rivalry take place but none as complicated as Camellia & Ambrosia’s relationship. They cheer each other on & look-out for one another but they both desire a position only one can hold.

Edelweiss is probably my most favorite besides Camellia, she cares not for being a Belle & would much rather see the world. We see Edelweiss often challenge Madame Du Barry who is head of their house & responsible for their training. I really enjoyed seeing how far Edelweiss would push the limits, very outspoken & quick to set any of her sisters straight, she quickly became one of my favorite characters in this book. There is one other supporting character that deserves mention, Rémy who is assigned to protect & watch over Camellia. Although there is no romance between Camellia & Rémy in this book, there is some budding chemistry between the two. Rémy is loyal, the kind of guy who is hard on the exterior but mush for those he loves. I appreciated that he wasn’t made out to be some raging jealous guy once he saw Camellia’s actual “love interest” come around, he respected her space.

The villain…cause it wouldn’t be a Fantastical world without one amiright?!?! Ha! Princess Sophia, daughter to the Queen & King of Orléans will make anyone’s blood go cold just by looking their way. Cruel, Vain, implacable, and unpredictable. She’s also one of the smartest villains I’ve met in YA Fantasy, always ten steps ahead of the game. She is calculating & mainpulative & many times left me asking myself “does she know?” Princess Sophia plays her cards close to her chest & what she does and doesn’t know is a source of tension for both the reader and those in her court.

The first impression I got when I read the first page of this book was beauty would be splattered everywhere!!! In the fashion, foods, and streets of Orléans and that it was! giving off Hunger Games Capital vibes, you are sucked into the MOST colorful & opulent world guaranteed to leave you eyeing the closest pastry shop. The world building was A+ but perhaps my only complaint is that the magic system isn’t throughly broken down early on. This book is quite hefty and that means that for the first half you are only holding certain pieces of knowledge on the way things work with The Belles. We know that their treatments are temporary fixes & that only the wealthy can really afford them & the maintenance that goes along with it. The consequences of pushing the limits however, isn’t disclosed in the first half of the book. It wasn’t too complex of a system at all to understand, I just wish we had been given more of it towards the beginning. There is a TON of information that is revealed towards the end, the second half of the book is absolutely much faster paced than the first. That being said, I cannot deny the lure of this world & how I couldn’t put the book down for long. The rich color palette encompassing all skin colors/tones used by the Belles to treat the Gray, signified the lack of racism in this book. However, classism is well & alive in The Belles where only the wealthy can afford to receive treatments while the less fortunate walk around Gray & drained of life. There are also three characters from the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, one who is Bi-sexual & the other two are Lesbian (won’t say who cause spoilers). Orléans is a world where LBTQIA+ and people of color live well among others without discrimination. I LOVED the commentary on beauty & societal standards this book brings to the forefront! Camellia loves being a Belle & bringing color to peoples lives but then there are those who are never satisfied…


Hello Bookworms! hope you’re all having a wonderful day & enjoying all of your current reads, has The Belles made its way onto your TBR’s? Thoughts? The Belles will be out on February 6th. 2018 🙂


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#ARCstravaganza #17

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

Hello Readers! This is my 17th week participating in #ARCstravaganza Monday & this week I’ve chosen Circe by Madeline Miller. I requested this arc from Little Brown on Netgalley & being that it’s one of the tough publishing house I’ve encountered, I wasn’t really expecting a approval. Whelp! when it came through my heart skipped a couple of beats cause ANYTHING Mythology Bookworms! I just can’t not gravitate towards it. Then I read the Goodreads synopsis & the last line did me in…Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.”…also, have you seen the line-up of characters Circe crosses paths with while on the deserted island? I mean friggin ODYSSEUS!!! 

This has only made me REALLLLY want to read Song of Achilles  smh, I’ve had this book for far too long & don’t really know why I haven’t gotten around to it but I will be soon…hopefully before Circe 😉

Circe will be hitting bookshelves April 10th 2018! 🙂

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 In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.


Sound off in the comments below if Circe has made its way onto your TBR’s 


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Review: The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis

Title: The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Author: Angelo Surmelis

Pub. Date: January 30th, 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/LGBTQIA+

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper

Pages: 336

Format: eGalley

Content Warning: Physical abuse, homophobia, emotional abuse, and child abuse, bullying, Suicidal thoughts

*HUGE thanks to Balzer + Bray/Harper, Edelweiss, and Angelo Surmelis for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

   

Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn’t know where he fits in. His strict Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend Henry has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer.

Tired, isolated, scared—Evan’s only escape is drawing in an abandoned church that feels as lonely as he is. And, yes, he kissed one guy over the summer. But it’s his best friend Henry who’s now proving to be irresistible. It’s Henry who suddenly seems interested in being more than friends. And it’s Henry who makes him believe that he’s more than his mother’s harsh words and terrifying abuse. But as things with Henry heat up, and his mother’s abuse escalates, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by avoiding attention at all costs.

Where to begin? well first I’d like to refer everyone to the content warning up above. This wasn’t a easy book to read but then again I know it couldn’t have been easy to write either. The author wrote this book based on his personal childhood experiences & so this is Ownvoices for LGBTQIA+ and child abuse. I requested this title from Harper once I read the synopsis & found that something about this character resonated deep within me. This review will be a mix of my thoughts on the book & my own personal experience which is something I rarely if ever talk about. I’ve never wanted to be proven wrong so badly but when I met Evan Panos on the pages, I knew I was in trouble. My childhood experiences at home ran parallel to Evans or really to the author himself with regards to child abuse. There is nothing pretty about what went on behind closed doors for Evan & being silenced by your abuser is the norm. Telling our stories isn’t something we do because child abuse is a very ugly thing & many aren’t prepared to hear about it. From personal experience, as someone who was silenced by my own family, this “story” rings true & my heart broke in a million pieces at the extent to which Evan went to hide his ugly truths.

Evan Panos is a only child living at home with both mom & dad, on the outside they appear to be the perfect Greek family. He is a talented artist & loves to sketch whenever he can as a means of escape. His mother, a extremely religious woman will go above and beyond to keep up appearances. His dad is a hard working man who loves his son but unfortunately doesn’t have the courage to put a stop to the abuse going on at home. Evan’s mother considers homosexuality a sin & although Evan hasn’t come out or even really had the chance to embrace who he is to himself, his mother makes it known on a daily basis that she knows he is Gay. We see Evan doing good in school and being a all around good kid but that isn’t enough for his mom who is determined to beat sin out of him. We see Evan walking on egg shells while home trying not to trigger another attack from his mother but his very existence is enough for her to go off. She physically beats him & emotionally breaks him down every chance she gets. She vocalizes her hatred for him & goes as far as wishing she never had him. Evan is numb at this point & we see him take it and never once actually break down. He’s become a master at hiding his wounds both inside & out, something his mother has taught him to do. I’d like to point out here, many times his bruises were on his face & although others questioned & suspected abuse at home… NO ONE ever really pressed the matter & this is something that unfortunately happens every day. It is easier to accept the lie the victim gives than accept the unthinkable truth. Although Evans mother mostly attacks him when his dad is away, there is no denying that his father knows what is going on at home. Their trips to the Doughnut shop was his Dads way of taking Evan out of the toxic home for a couple of hours. This was something my own father did for me & at the time it felt like a lifeline, now as an adult I understand so much more what those trips to get ice cream really were.

There is a love interest that plays a big part of Evans life, his childhood best friend Henry. The only reason they were allowed to be friends was because Evan’s mom set out to convert Henry’s parents into her religion. Their friendship runs through High School & becomes more than just platonic. It isn’t easy though, Henry knows something is going on at home but his life & parents are the exact opposite of Evans. Henry has a supportive home & his place becomes sort of like a refuge for Evan. I wanted to really like Henry, but unfortunately this is where I shook my head no. Evan is pretty numb all around & sometimes his answers just roll off the tongue in order to keep people away from his personal life. Henry has just come out as Gay to his family & receives all their love & support. My issue was with how much he pressured Evan all around. I understood Henry wanting Evan to leave his toxic home (been there myself & had someone try this for me) but I also understand how it feels to be in Evans shoes. What I can’t imagine is what it must feel like to also be pressured to come out as Gay & that is why Henry really rubbed me the wrong way.

I would’ve much rather he supported Evan & encouraged him to get help to get out of his abusive home more than his focus on them as a couple. I was happy to see that Evan had found another home & another example of what a supportive family looks like even if it was Henry’s. I myself found a home that showed me love & support and ultimately gave me the strength I needed to leave. From this book I wanted a ending that empowered others to seek out their peace of mind away from any form of abuse. Did I get that? Ultimately, yes! and no it wasn’t with Henry. If I had a book like this when I was a child/teen, I’ll be honest & say I may have hated seeing the truth written on the pages but by the end I know I would’ve also been emboldened to get help. I read the author’s note & the inner turmoil he had within himself to share his story is one that I’ve felt many times and still experience. Another well known author who is also his best friend, advised him to give the story to someone else. This is how Evan came about & through this character he was able to share something that not many are ready to hear. This book won’t be for everyone, the abuse is very raw & the wounds are deep but for those who have experienced it or still are…maybe this book will give you hope & strength to find your safe space.

The author shared some helpful links at the end of this book…

LGBTQ ORGANIZATIONS The Trevor Project—www.thetrevorproject.org

It Gets Better Project—www.itgetsbetter.org

LGBT National Help Center—www.glbthotline.org

ABUSE National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) and its affiliate, Childhelp—www.childhelp.org

BULLYING Stomp Out Bullying—www.stompoutbullying.org

StopBullying—www.stopbullying.gov