It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. I can’t remember the last time I participated in this Monday meme but seeing as I have some reviews planned this week, I thought it best to give a reading update early on in the week ☺️

I also drew a winner this morning for the Love, Hate & Other Filters Giveaway…

Danielle @ Life Of a Literary Nerd!!! Congrats & I hope you LOVE the book as much as I did! Please contact me with your addy 🙂

Last week I finished reading 2 books & no one is more surprised at that than me! Both reads were tough for very different reasons and I’m still working through my thoughts & feelings on one of them…


This was not what I was expecting & I feel terrible about not loving it cause I really had my ♥️ set on this one ever since I first caught wind of it & then saw its beautiful cover 🙈unfortunately I didn’t get reeled in until the 65% mark. By then I had pinpointed exactly what made this one a 2.5 star read, I have a review for The Hazel Wood by Melissa Alberthere.

 

 


I’m currently working on my review for The Dangerous Art Of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis which had to be THE hardest book I’ve ever read. This book was triggering on a personal level but I knew that when I requested the galley. My interest in this book was heightened when I learned that this was Ownvoices not only for LGBTQIA+ but also for child abuse. This was not an easy read & it brought up many bad memories. It also didn’t have the best romance, in fact it borderlines toxic. Ultimately I appreciated the fact that it didn’t paint a rosy colored portrait of what child abuse really looks like. The sad reality is that being silenced is part of the abuse and covering up both physical & emotional abuse becomes second nature to the victim. This book was like a huge stadium light on the hard cold truths behind closed doors. Review to come this week.

I’m currently reading The Belles (The Belles #1) by Dhonielle Clayton & I’m about 50% into this BEAUTIFUL Fantasy!!! 😍 I’m OBSESSED with the detailed world building that transports me each & every time I read a single page. I can easily picture this world brought to the big screen with its bursts of color, newspapers with moving headlines, balloons that carry messages & also eavesdrop gathering up bits of gossip. Last but not the least, The Belles who are diverse & admired for their beauty. There’s so much more to this story beneath all the layers of Tulle & beauty products. I know I’ll be finishing this book by either tomorrow, latest Tuesday & my heart breaks knowing I’ll have to leave this world behind til’ the sequel that I hope is already being written 🤞🏼

Originally, I had hoped to read Iron Gold by Pierce Brown (Red Rising Saga #4) simultaneously with The Belles but that of course didn’t work out. This is typically the case whenever I come across a book like The Belles that simply demands all of my attention. I open The Belles & I get absorbed into the pages…I become one with the words! 😂😂😂 The good news is that once I start Iron Gold, I know I’ll be just as invested cause I’ve only been waiting for this book ALL of 2017 & it’s PIERCE BROWN!!! 🐺I’ve been dodging spoilers on twitter but I have caught bits & pieces of praise which means Pierce has delivertttt again!!! 😆😆😆 Hoping to start Iron Gold by Tuesday night 💜


Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a wonderful weekend 💜 What have you recently finished reading? plan on reading next? Sound off in the comments below 💗 ‘s!


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Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Title: The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1)

Author: Melissa Albert

Pub. Date: January 30th, 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Pages: 368

Format: Physical ARC & eGalley

*HUGE thanks to Fierce Reads, Netgalley, and Melissa Albert for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

  

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

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I’d like to preface this review by stating that no one is more surprised & bummed out by my reading experience with The Hazel Wood. I stayed clear of other reviews while reading once I caught wind of the divide in readers. This book feels like it will be a either you LOVE it or REALLY WANTED TO BUT JUST DIDN’T type of read & I fall into the latter. This has all the ingredients I look for in my Fantasy books however, the promise of “pitch dark fairy tales” was the real hook line & sinker. This is a very slow paced read & I for one am Ok with that because some of my favorite books have been and as long as the pay off is worth it I roll with it. The problem became evident when at the 60% mark I started eyeing the remaining pages wondering if there were enough left to transport me to the Hinterland & when that exactly was going to happen. It was like waiting for Lucy to find the door in the wardrobe that would take her to Narnia only she doesn’t discover it til the very end & at that point there really isn’t much time for world building. Although The Hazel Wood is labeled Fantasy, a large chunk of it is set in modern day.

We follow Alice and her mother who are always on the move trying to stay ten steps ahead of their “bad luck” & so a lot of the story is set on the road. Alice knows only that her mom doesn’t have a good relationship with her grandmother and as such has told her to stay away from her & The Hazel Wood where she lives. This all changes when Alice’s mother is kidnapped & she’s left with a last ditch warning from her mom to again stay away from The Hazel Wood. Alice of course disregards & starts searching for clues that will lead her to her mom, eventually all roads lead to the Hinterland and the passageway is The Hazelwood. Alice has never read her Grandmothers most famed written work  Tales from the Hinterland but not for lack of trying. The hunt for this rare edition leads her to her classmate Ellery Finch who is OBSESSED with her grandmother & Tales from the Hinterland. Typically, Alice steers clear of all fans but she’s feeling really desperate & Ellery has read the book which gives them an advantage. Now, the way this relationship progresses was probably one of the main reasons I came to the conclusion that I really dislike Alice as a character. Yes, it’s clear that Ellery has a hidden agenda but we don’t know if he has ill intentions towards Alice or is just a super fan who will do anything to get into The Hazel Wood. The dialogue between these two is always abusive from Alice’s side. One specific instance is when they’re on the road & Finch makes up a game in order to break the ice & get to know each other better, maybe even help Alice remember important childhood memories that can help them. The game is called Memory Place and Ellery starts of with A is fo Amsterdam because that’s the place he lost his “V-card” & they continue through the alphabet only Alice gets exasperated & says she no longer wants to play…

“I don’t want to play your stupid game anymore”

“and who uses a car game as an excuse to brag about having sex with some bitch in a park”

“some bitch? she was my girlfriend for eight months. It’s so ugly when girls call each other that word”

“Oh, my God, Finch, go get a liberal arts degree”

Awkward…but this is very much who Alice is and although we get a better understanding for her character at the very end, it didn’t change the cringe worthy moments throughout the book where she was just downright unlike-able.

To be honest, I probably would’ve fared better in the tolerance department had the majority of this story been set in the Hinterland. I really did not enjoy Quentin Colwater’s character in The Magicians but once we were in Fillory, he got plenty of passes from me. Alice may not have been my favorite MC however, I’m a sucker for A+ world building & the glimpse that I got just wasn’t enough. There were two stories within The Hazel Wood that were from Tales from the Hinterland that were absolutely engrossing! Dark & twisted, I couldn’t get enough & found myself powering through the pages. However, these were short stories at the very end and I can’t judge my enjoyment of this book on just these two amazing short stories (I thought about it but I just can’t). The ending however, leaves much promise for the sequel and I found my interest piqued. I really enjoyed the story behind Alice once it was revealed at the very end, but don’t want to discuss for fear of spoilers. I will say that in the short amount of time I spent in the Hinterland, I found it to be filled with interesting characters & the land itself had a very dark & atmospheric vibe. The kind of place I would’ve loved getting lost in the pages with. I’d still encourage those who want to read this book to do so since I know blogger buddies who LOVED it to pieces. I myself wanted to LOVE it but ultimately it didn’t work out that way. Will I read the sequel or any of the authors future works? I’m going to say yes for now, it’s clear Melissa Albert knows how to write dark Fantasy. I’m very curious to see whether the sequel let’s us full out immerse ourselves into the treacherous world of the Hinterland and enjoy her story-telling in a fantastical setting…


Hello Bookworms! Happy FriYAY! hope you’re all having a wonderful day *smiles* If you’ve read The Hazel Wood, sound off in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’re currently reading this book, how’s it faring with you? & for those who haven’t, did it make the cut on your TBR? ❤


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Review + Giveaway: Love, Hate & Other Filters

Title: Love, Hate & Other Filters

Author: Samira Ahmed

Pub. Date: January 16th, 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Own Voices

Publisher: Soho Teen

Pages: 288

Format: Physical ARC

Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Islamophobia & Hate Crime

*Thank you Soho Teen and Samira Ahmed for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

    

It’s been weeks since I finished this book & yet the feelings that stirred within me are still very raw. Last year I praised The Hate U Give along with many of my fellow book blogging buddies, and still do. This year although it is only the beginning, I confidently recommend Love, Hate & Other Filters as a MUST READ! We alternate between two storylines, that of Maya a young  Indian-American Muslim trying to navigate her way through her wants & her families beliefs and a suicide bomber leading up to a horrific event. Maya’s first passion in life has always been Film, she wants to make movies & to get to that she has chosen to apply to NYU Tisch. Maya’s parents really just want her to marry a suitable/respectable Muslim guy…preferably one they’ve chosen. The life they’ve imagined for Maya doesn’t quite align with the life she has already set her sights on & is actively pursuing. Maya also can’t help her feelings towards a Caucasian boy she has known since their childhood. Phil has just recently started making it a bit more clear where his feelings lie towards Mya & that means Mya’s parents match-making will take a back seat. We see Mya try to respect her parents wishes by going on a date with a boy they consider suitable. We also see Mya firmly hold on to her dreams for the future even when that meant going against the grain. We also follow the suicide bomber in this story briefly as he calls upon memories of his childhood. We are left to speculate whether certain people & abuse lead him to the path he is now on. We also see the effects of the suicide bombing & the Islamophobia both Mya and her parents face immediately after the horrific crime. Filled with culture, sweet moments, awesome characters, family ties, sadness, hate, & other filters….this is one you’re not going to want to miss! 

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Our MC Maya is seriously a go-getter! passionate & in love with life itself, Maya was inspirational to me. I learned so much from Maya, she had a very “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it” type of attitude without even knowing it if that makes any sense. Maya may feel most comfortable behind the lens of a camera but her passion for film & capturing all of life’s moments will also be her strength.  We see very real moments with her parents where at times she feels bad for the bad communication & lack of understanding. I did find myself sympathizing with her parents at times but also wanting Maya to do what makes her happy. Although Maya’s parents weren’t exactly supportive of her passion for film, you can also see how much they love their daughter & just want what’s best for her. I personally didn’t agree with their approach but could see it didn’t come from a bad place but rather from genuine concern & love. Maya’s mother is very much stuck between the life she left behind & life raising a teen in America. All very real struggles that I enjoyed seeing included in this book.

Stand-out supporting character would go to Maya’s aunt who is living her life in a very non-traditional way. She isn’t married and has no kids but is very much happy with single life living on her own. Maya’s aunt is very supportive of her and will often go up to bat for her niece. I LOVED see their relationship & seeing Maya have such a positive role model in her life.

As for the guys in Maya’s love life…Kareem who is the guy Maya’s parents set her up on a date with ended up being one  of my fave characters for very different reasons. I never shipped these two but LOVED Kareem’s personality to pieces! & as for Phil who is Maya’s childhood crush, I liked him enough & had thoughts on how this ship would sail and I’m so glad I was right! ultimately these characters were in Maya’s life to guide her along to where she needs to be 😉

All throughout Love, Hate & Other Filters we toggle between Maya’s story & the suicide bomber which was really sobering. I don’t want to go into too much detail in regards to the suicide bomber since that would be spoilery. I will say however, that the way it was written into this story was done so well & will hopefully have you self reflect. I most definitely will be reading more from this author & cannot recommend this book enough! I love when characters are fleshed out through their hobbies & interests which was flawlessly done with our MC Maya. The classic Film references Maya makes throughout her day to day made me root harder for her to follow her dreams. Ahmed doesn’t simply tell us what Maya enjoys & wants to be in life, she takes us along giving us a view through Maya’s lens. I experienced both feelings of happiness & anger reading this book, both of which were necessary when trying to see things through Maya’s POV. By the time I read the last page, I walked away with a feeling that can’t be described as anything else but hope. Hope for change…


Hello Bookworms!!! Happy Tuesday, I hope you’re all having a wonderful day. If you’re like me then you’re just getting back to the daily grind after a 3 day weekend. It’s tough & what better way to get back in the flow of things than a GIVEAWAY?!?!? I’m giving away 1 hardcover copy of this wonderful book & all you need to do is comment down below & follow my blog. I will also give 1+ point for each follow on Instagram & Twitter. This giveaway is open to international Bookworms as well & will run until January 21st 💜 Happy reading & may the luck be with thee…


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December Wrap-Up

Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful day! 💜 I wasn’t going to post a Wrap-Up for December but decided to not break away from tradition here on the blog. It was a busy holiday/birthday month but I still managed to read 4 books to my own amazement! I also managed to post my December Book Haul here which was not too over the top considering I won a couple of Twitter giveaways. I also considered posting some goals for reading & blogging in 2018 but ultimately decided that this year is all about reading books I’m truly excited for. In 2017 I discovered a slew of debut others, some I fell in love with & others not so much. Going forward, I’ll still be reading arcs but I’ll also be reading from my own shelves. I own a ton of Fiction & Adult Fantasy that has literally been untouched for over a year now & it’s time to crack some spines. There are also some really big titles I’ve been saving to read this year just because I am not the best at remembering all the deets & since their sequels will be out later this year I figured why not wait? So, those of you that I speak to on Twitter or IG (besides this blog), prepare to be inundated with all the fangirling once I read Strange the Dreamer (Laini is bae) & Nevernight (Jay is King).

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black ★★★★★ 5 STARS

Everless by Sara Holland ★★★★ 4 STARS

Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) by Adriana Mather ★★★★★ 5 STARS

Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden ★★★★★ 5 STARS

I may have only read 4 books but I am very happy with the quality. Of course the two that took me to the moon & back were The Cruel Prince (AMAZING) & The Girl in the Tower (WOOOW!), these two have solidified their spots on my Best Books of 2018 HAHA! Some of you may have noticed, I didn’t post a Best Reads of 2017 & that’s simply because the I thought I had many EPIC reads but in all reality those that were worthy of mentioning could be counted on one hand. Yeah, I know! that means I read a ton of just Ok books which led to me setting some personal reading goals for 2018. One of them is tackling my Book of the Month shelf, all books I’m very excited to get to! So for 2018 I’ll be reading YA & rediscovering my love of Fiction & Adult Fantasy. I’ve cut back drastically on requesting ARCS & will now only request those that make my heart skips beats at the mere mention of the title HAHA! Anywho, as you can see December was a month of reflection as I’m sure it was for many. This Wrap-up has some end of year thoughts but I did say I didn’t want to post a official Goals post cause *no pressure* 😉

   

There was only 1 movie I managed to squeeze in & that was The Last Jedi but boy am I happy I watched this movie!!!! I felt a range of emotions, a bit bittersweet watching Carrie Fischer on the screen. The movie was seriously EPIC, and no I am not a hardcore Starwars fan so I can only speak of my enjoyment of this movie itself. I did watch all of the originals however, it was so long ago that many of the details and awesomeness flew over my head. I had a 5th grade teacher who was a Starwars fanatic & had us watch 1 movie per day…yea, I don’t know how she justified the time but I wasn’t complaining at the time lOL! I do however, plan on going back to re-watch now that I can appreciate it more. Last Jedi however, was AMAZING! & Adam Driver continues to make me fall for him even though he always shows his a**! I digress…We were introduced to Vietnamese actress Kelly Marie Tran who I LOVED! and hope to see more of. I wasn’t a huge fan of Mark Hamill/Luke’s parts, just a bit disappointing. Maybe because in my head I had imagined some great scene where Luke trains Rey in the way of the Jedi & that didn’t happen. He did sort of make up for it with THAT ending however, expectations may have been too high. Overall, great actions scenes & plot line with bad a** characters made this a pretty EPIC date night! 🙂


Happy reading in January Bookworms! Hope you all find your next best read & I can’t wait to see you in your next blog post 😉


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The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1): Spoiler Free Review Feat. Gretchen @ChicNerdReads

Title: The Cruel prince (The Folk of the Air #1)

Author: Holly Black

Pub. Date: January 2nd, 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384

Format: Physical ARC

Content warning: Suicide and Graphic Violence

Buddy Read: w/my Twin Gretchen @ChicNerdReads (Q & A at the end of this review)

*Thank you Little Brown Books for Young Readers and Holly Black for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

Where to begin?….well maybe with the fact that up until now I hadn’t come across a fae character that I liked in any of the books that I’ve read. This all has changed of course now that I’ve read this magnificently twisted book by Holly Black. I get it now! I get why you all call her the Queen of the Fae! The Cruel Prince was EVERYTHING I never knew I needed & now I simply cannot get enough of this world.

The opening scene is one of the most cold blooded I’ve ever read, we meet our MC Jude in her home with her two sisters Taryn & Vivi. A knock on the door brings a stranger into their home changing the course of their lives. Jude’s sister Vivi is half Fae & her father Madoc has come to take her back to Elfhame, the home her mother took her away from when she left him. Murdering both their parents, Madoc is now responsible for his daughter Vivi and her two human siblings. We fast forward 10 years from the date he stole them away to find them all grown up into teenagers with very different personalities and feelings towards their new home & Madoc himself. Elfhame is no easy place to live in especially if you’re a human which is why our MC Jude has given it her all to try & fit in by earning a place in the royal guard. Always having to look over her shoulder, Jude knows the fae world is a treacherous place to live in & the only way to survive is to always be ten steps ahead.

Our antagonists are Prince Cardan and his fae friends who look down on all humans which make Jude & Taryn easy targets. For the most part, the bullying is directed towards Jude for wanting to be in the royal guard so badly that she is actively competing in the tournament. Taryn on the other hand tries to lay low & encourages a non-yielding Jude to do the same. Jude however, is not the type to stay down for long & pushes back each & every single time. She manages to capture the attention of Prince Dain who is rumored to be chosen by the king as heir to the throne. Dain offers her a position with his royal spies & Jude begins to unravel court secrets one by one. She soon realizes that nothing is at it seems & the kingdom of Elfhame is in danger. The Cruel Prince is filled with political intrigue, ruthless double-crossings, and tons of twists & turns that will leave you second guessing all of your theories. If you enjoy watching pieces on a Chess board move Game of Thrones Style, then chances are you’re going to LOVE this book!

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It’s rare that I end up loving the MC of a Fantasy so hardcore & yet even more impossible…that I end up loving the MC as much as the antagonist haha! I’m still not sure that any of the characters in this book can be described as wholly good or bad, they’re all so complex & deeply layered. Starting with our MC Jude who can be seen as a outcast & a bit of a anti-hero, she is going to put the kingdom and its people above all else. Jude was unpredictable & resilient to the very end, very much a product of her environment. Her twin sister Taryn who is also human has a very different mindset although ultimately she’d also like to just fit in. Unlike Jude, Taryn has no interest in training for battle & instead plans to marry a fae of the royal court. We find these two siblings at odds throughout the book as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a strange land that doesn’t want them.

Madoc is also an interesting character, described as blood lustful and a winner of wars. He also is the person who murdered their parents & then gave them a new home with everything they could’ve possibly ever wanted/needed. Each of the girls has a difficult relationship with Madoc who is the only father figure they’ve known since the age of 7. Vivi who is his legitimate daughter by blood has never accepted Madoc or Elfhame. We see her often steal away in the human world where she hides her true identity. Vivi has held onto a lot of her anger & resentment towards Madoc & we see her rebel against him at every turn.

Prince Carden & his crew of friends who go out of their way to make Jude’s life all the more difficult, are just as complex as our three siblings. There’s definitely a lot more underneath the malice & I ended up really enjoying this character’s development.

There are plenty more characters in this book the I truly enjoyed, the cast is large & I could talk about each one for days but then that would take the fun away from meeting them for yourselves. Besides the main characters and group of antagonists we also have another set of players in the background who are just as crucial to the story. When we first start this story, it’s on the heels of a coronation where the King would choose his heir. You can bet on there being tons of moves being made between his heirs for the highly coveted seat. With so many players on the board I found myself HOOKED! with many theories that ultimately didn’t even come close to the final play for the throne 😉

 Never have I ever entered a Fantasy world & felt the need to watch my own back! Such was the case with this book & I can’t even begin to explain just how deeply fleshed out this story, it’s characters, and world really are. The plot alone is FLAWLESS!!! well executed & guaranteed to leave you holding your theories with a big Oh So You Thought That’s What’s Happening Here? HA! Think Again! I am in awe of how Black brought all the pieces together, she thought of its all! past, present, and future. As if that weren’t enough, the characters were morally gray & really hard to turn away from. There isn’t a heroine in this Fantasy, this isn’t that type of book & I found this to be ingenious! EVERYONE is effed up at some point or another & EVERYONE is flawed. The world building is A+ bookworms! yet again in awe of how Holly Black managed to give us so much in under 400 pgs. Elfhame comes to life with its many different races of fae, their customs, food to tempt any human, and a high court filled dangerous characters. I couldn’t get enough & every time I opened this book, I found myself sucked into the land of the fae very easily. I didn’t see the ending coming and had to pick my jaw up off the floor at the very end. The good news is that Black leaves us with an amazing epilogue to hold us over & I’m going to need the sequel like yesterday! *sobs* It’s not too early to place this book on my Top 2018 reads,   already have. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, please do not hesitate! the hype is well deserved with this one & I just know you won’t regret it 😉

 It’s been a while since my BFF & I buddy read a book so when she suggested it I wasn’t going to say no! LOL. I cleared all of my planned TBR books because buddy reads with my twin are always fun & I knew this would be no different. I’m so glad it was a book we both really enjoyed & are now totally OBSESSED with! Check out her full spoiler free review here!

When I asked Gretchen how her experience reading Holly Black for the first time went, she immediately gushed on how AMAZING It was! “I loved the world building, characters, and how they took me by surprise. I loved how dark the characters were because the match my soul!” *she LOL’d when she said this* Gretchen LOVED Carden who plays the antagonist, she admits not liking him at first but then realized he had reasons for being the way he is.

The world building as I mentioned in my review, is one of my favorite aspects of this book. Although this was my first Holly Black, it isn’t my first book with Fae & I found myself wondering why this time I ended up LOVING them so much. I asked Gretchen, compared to other Fae books she’s read, what made the world of Elfhame in The Cruel prince stand out? “The many different races of not just Fae, the inclusion of termites, Goblins, and pixies”…we both agreed that this book had so much detail in the best of ways & we soaked it all up.

The main characters in this book also battled internally with whether they were given a choice, would they stay in Elfhame or return to the human world. Vivi who is the Fae sibling, hasn’t accepted Madoc as her father or her new home. She can be seen often sneaking away to the human world & clinging on to human things. We also see Jude struggle with the desire to be one of the Fae. I asked Gretchen if she were give the choice would she live in the human world as a Fae? or would she continue to live in the Fae world as a human? I’d prefer to be a Fae living in the the human world, living undercover with modifications to keep people from finding out my true identity”…for those that are wondering, it’s totally possible with the help of some contacts & our wonderful author herself has surgically re-shaped her ears to those of the fae 😉

Lastly, I asked Gretchen whether she plans on picking up any of Holly Black’s other books that have already been published & she said ABSOLUTELY! Gretchen is interested in reading Tithe 🙂


Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her new series which begins with The Cruel Prince in January 2018.

She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. 


Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful day, possibly even a snow day for some like myself *fingers crossed* Sound off in the comments if you plan on reading The Cruel Prince? & if you’ve already devoured it like we did, how was it for you?


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Books On Books On Books

Hello Bookworms! hope you’re all having a wonderful morning & for some of you afternoon/night 😀 it’s my 1st day back in the office after a week off from work & I’m so NOT ready! but there is one good thing about getting back to the daily grind of commuting…READING! 😍 being home with my wonderful family was much needed & so reading took a back seat. Today I’m back at it with a heavy commute that gives me a total of 5 hours for reading or listening to a audiobook. This means I can get back to whittling down the stacks to make room for…well, you know?

MORE BOOKS! …

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Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) | The Princess Diarist | Whichwood (Furthermore #2) | Far From Tree | Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) | Marrow | Mud Vein | Atheist Who Kneel and Pray

2018 is the year I mix it up even further on Lair Of Books. I already read Diverse/Own Voices whenever possible but I’d also like to try other genres. Although I’ll still mostly read YA Fantasy & contemporary, I’ll also be giving New Adult and Middle Grade a go (polar opposites haha!). Also, since I’ll be making a more conscious effort to read from my shelves more often, you’ll be seeing Fiction & Adult Fantasy as well. Maybe this way I’ll finally tackle my past Book of the Month boxes 🤷🏻‍♀️😂 

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Foolish Hearts

Sadly this will be my last Owlcrate box, it was a good run & I may still return but for now it’s time to say goodbye 💙

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Sourdough | The Wife Between Us | The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)

These caught my attention instantly! but I’m MOST excited for The City of Brass 🤗🤗🤗

Ace Of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) | Girls Burn Brighter

*I’m getting better at requesting only what I’m super stoked for 😉


Considering a couple of these were Twitter giveaway wins, I’d say this was a good month? 🤷🏻‍♀️😂 although I’ll no longer be subbed to Owlcrate, I will be giving Fairyloot a shot so we’ll see how that goes. I’m pretty stoked for my 1st box this month 🤗🤗🤗 Did you haul anything exciting in December? if you’re a BOTM subscriber, what were your picks?


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I think this covers it…

Happy New Years Bookworms!!! It’s 1AM and I just finished off a slice of my birthday cake & figured I’d post the 2nd half (first half here) of my most highly anticipated books for 2018 💜 There are 3 titles for which there haven’t been cover releases but I’m SUPER stoked for & couldn’t bring myself to leave off this list. Each title will link back to Goodreads & since it’s a pretty long list, I’ll stick to some quick points of interest & hope you find some new reads to add to your TBR’s for 2018 😉

 

Furyborn (The Empirium Trilogy #3) by Claire Legrand 1 MC with 7 seven kinds of elemental magic, 7 trials to test magic, a bounty hunter, assassins, complex world-building, and a long standing war to span millennia.

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning Ursula’s POV…yea I think this sums it up for NEED! 🤗🤗🤗

These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders #1) by Sara Raasch Forbidden magic, LGBTQ romance, and Pirates!!! 🔥🔥🔥

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young VIKINGS! siblings on opposing sides of a blood feud, love a good sibling story 💙

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Graton retelling of King Lear with elements of Game of Thrones?!?! YASSS please! the synopsis alone is so bad a** for this one 🔥🔥🔥

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Various Authors Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate…I have a feeling this anthology will become an instant treasure for me 💙

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena with so many tough topics such as race, religion, identity, and class…this is one is sure to break me but I feel will be a poignant read

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandy Menon a cute rom-com told through letters written by the MC to her favorite filmmakers, I’m HERE FOR IT!

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli  LGBTQ rep, plus-sized rep, and it takes place in the same world as Upside of Unrequited (still need to read Simon) I am beyond STOKED for this one! 🤗🤗🤗

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed #Ownovoices, Indian-American Muslim teen MC, Islamophobia, Post 911

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1) Complex multi-layered YA Fantasy with EPIC world building, magic system, and fierce heroines. Already optioned for the big screen

The Belles (The Belles #1) by Dhonielle Clayton My biggest lure towards this title is undeniably the topics weaved into it’s core such as the commodification of women’s bodies, gender equality and racial identity mentioned in the synopsis. This is one YA Fantasy I wouldn’t miss for anything in the world!

Ace Of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody Casinos, Gangs, Mafia…gahhHH! speaking to my soul with this one! 🖤🖤🖤

Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women & Witchcraft by Various Authors Besides the fact that some of my fave authors contributed to this anthology…WITCHES!!! Need I say more?!?! 🤷🏻‍♀️

Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black I’ve actually already read this & can confidently say it will make my top of 2018 at the end of the year! It’s FLAWLESS!!! Far in a dark lush world filled with political intrigue, blood thirst, and a constant need to watch your back this is one you won’t want to miss (RTC)

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff a new sci-fi by the one & only Jay Kristoff, in a Q&A Kristoff stated that he pitched this one as “Romeo and Juliet meets Bladerunner, while Fury Road plays a guitar solo in the background.” I can’t even begin to fathom what that looks like & yet I know I NEED it in my life like I need air 😂

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas a return to Garden Heights–a story about a aspiring teen rapper & what happens when they get everything they thought they wanted

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore “A magical realist Snow-White & Rose-Red meets Swan Lake, in which two sisters become rivals in a game that will turn the losing girl into a swan.”

What If It’s Us-Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera two of my fave YA Contemporary authors have come together & that is all I can ask for! the blurb gives me serendipitous vibes, can’t wait to meet Ben & Arthur 💙


Happy New Years Bookworms! Hope this year brings love, peace, and happinness to you all! also,  plenty of great reads 💙💙💙 Sound off in the comments if you’re excited for any of these titles or any I left off <3’s!


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Spoiler Free Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Title: Everless (Untitled #1)

Author: Sara Holland

Pub. Date: January 2nd, 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 336

Format: eGalley

*Thank you HarperTeen, Edelweiss, and Sara Holland for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

   

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

Everless takes the title for debut YA Fantasy that surprised the hell outta me in a very good way! I read a TON of YA Fantasy & it’s been increasingly difficult to find ones that keep me invested in the story start to finish. Perhaps it’s the mystery at its core that sucks you in or the concept of time equals money in the literal sense that make Everless a solid start to this (untitled) series. In the Kingdom of Sempera there are stories passed down to children about the Sorcerer and Alchemist who were always at odds and eventually bound time to blood and metal. The wealthy tax the poor & continue to add on years to their own lives. In Everless, the Gerlings are at the top of the aristocracy and our MC Jules used to live in the palace alongside her father until they were evicted. We are given some vague details about the incident that led to them being thrown out of Everless but we know that Jules has never forgotten or forgiven those she feels are responsible.

Living just outside of Everless’ walls, Jules & her father start over however, it hasn’t been easy financially and he forbids her from bloodletting. Since rent & taxes are collected by way of blood, Jules’ dad isn’t doing to good when we first meet him. Jules tries to respect his wishes however, seeing his life be drained away each & every time he gives up blood  while she stands idly by just isn’t something she could do. Headed back to Everless as a young woman now, she hopes no one will recognize her while she attempts to earn enough blood-iron to buy back her fathers time. With each bloodletting a person loses time from their lives, Jules knows her dad doesn’t have much time left to give. She wasn’t expecting to run into so many familiar faces or for them to remember her as the blacksmiths daughter. She also doesn’t know how deeply in danger she really is being inside the Everless walls…

*Pictures from Pinterest not my own

I’m a sucker for stories that feature tight bonds between father & daughter which we get as soon as we jump into this book. Pehr aka Jules’ Dad just wants to keep her safe & live normal lives away from Everless. He definitely holds many secrets that he hopes will remain so for the safety & well being of Jules. Our MC Jules has a lot  to learn! this book was full of plot twists that often left Jules looking very naive. There’s more than meets the eye with Jules & this first installment was really about her journey to self-discovery. I am very curious to see the Jules we will be reunited with in the sequel since  the epilogue was pretty bad a**! We also meet the Gerling brothers Liam & Roan, these two remember playing games with Jules when they were children. Jules has always carried feelings towards Roan while despising & blaming Liam for much of her misfortune. In the background we have the Everless kitchen staff who instantly gave me Downton Abbey vibes & since I loved that show, this was a real treat! within the staff Jules finds a friend or two which gives us some positive f/f interactions. Last but not least we have the mysterious and cold Queen who honestly can give Queen Levana (Lunar Chronicles) a run for her $$$! She’s lived centuries off of bloodletting the poor & is no stranger to the battlefield. Whatever you do, DON’T TOUCH THE QUUEN! There are two characters I am purposely leaving out cause spoilers even though i find them to be very interesting 😉

Although Everless is a YA Fantasy, it managed to also blend in a mystery that I enjoyed piecing together. Yes, some parts felt predictable & I could see where it was going but the plot twists definitely kept things interesting. Everless accomplished what many YA Fantasies I read this year haven’t…it set down a strong foundation it can build upon for the rest of the series. It isn’t fast paced nor filled with action in every scene however, the world building is on point! the whispered stories of the Sorcerer & Alchemist keep you questioning whether or not you believe in their existence. A lot of times you are questioning things right alongside our MC Jules. It was interesting seeing Jules compare her 7 year old POV vs. now at the age of 17. Perspective really is key in Everless which I found pretty neat. The last chapter or two left me with plenty of questions hopefully setting up the sequel for a strong head start. In the sequel my only hope is to see more character growth in Jules which I have a feeling is the direction she’s going in. Lastly, this first book was very much a mystery that unravels at the very end, my hope is to see more action scenes & more of the plot twists sooner into the next book. Everless kept me turning the pages effortlessly, I had to know what was what & who was a friend or foe. At times I saw a move coming in advance & Other I was left pleasantly surprised. This is one where you’ll enjoy gathering the bits and pieces of information that form a complex history for all key players 😉


HAPPY FRIDAY BOOKWORMS!!! Everless will be hitting the shelves this Tuesday January 2nd! I’m currently trying to choose a cover since both the U.K and U.S. did an amazing job! *heart eyes* can you imagine paying your rent in blood iron? tbh it can feel like I already am, what with living in NYC all my life LOL! will you be giving Everless a go? If you’ve already read it, how’d it fare with you? Sound off in the comments <3’s!


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*80’s Freestyle* Keep Me Hanging On…

Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful day and if you’re anything like me, you are looking at the clock waiting for the end of the work day. Find the person who thought it was a good idea to work any day past Christmas & you have your Grinch #jussayin

When I sat down to make my list of top 2018 books I’m looking forward to, I quickly realized my post would be a mile long and I just couldn’t do that to you lovely Bookworms. So instead I opted to split my list into two posts, this post will be for 2018 sequels I’m anticipating in the new year. The second post will be stand-alone/series starters. I have 12 sequels I’m super stoked for so grab your fave snack & or beverage cause ya girl has compiled a bit of a list (no particular order)



 1. The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden aka the book I NEED like air! 

I recently read & reviewed The Girl in the Tower (my spoiler free review here) which was utter PERFECTION! Just when I thought this trilogy could not get any better, Arden gave us The Girl in the Tower & now my nights are consumed thinking about the final installment in the world *sobs* This is not the final cover btw, I’m sure the final one will be GLORIOUS as they all have been! Scheduled for August 2018, a little earlier than the December release dates I’ve gotten grown accustomed to with these wintry books but HOORAY regardless!


2. Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Anyone who has read the first two books in the Illuminae Files can probably tell you how addictive this series really is smh. I was initially intimidated by the format of these books & it took me about a year to finally decide to read the first one…NEVER looked back after that! I will most likely devour Obsidio in one sitting, March 13th you have been claimed!


3. Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #3) by Scott Reintgen

Having recently read Nyxia (my review here), the adrenaline I felt reading this book is still pretty vivid. Not only was the plot fast paced edge of your seat FANTASTIC! the characters are easily some of my favorite in all of YA. Coming from all corners of the world, the crew of Nyxia offers up the diversity we are currently lacking in YA Sci-Fi. Nyxia Unleashed is set to hit the shelves July 2018 *eeeeK*



4. The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco

Last year I read The Bone Witch (my review here) & fell in love with the world building Rin Chupeco had created. I was actually surprised that it wasn’t labeled Adult Fantasy considering the expanse & complexities of the world. This was a real treat for myself seeing as I love details & lush writing which The Bone Witch pulled off beautifully often times reminding me of Memoirs of a Geisha. This wonderful sequel is set to be released March 2018!



5. Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) by Pierce Brown 

The Red Rising Trilogy (I can’t call it this anymore) is one that I am a hardcore fan of…no seriously though, I’m a Howler through & through! If this now series had ended with Morning Star, I would’ve been Ok because it was one of the BEST most EPIC endings I’ve ever read. To have read the news of that the world would be expanding was AMAZING for both myself & the hubby who is also a big fan. I read these books before creating Lair Of Books & missed out on fangirling with other Blogger buddies. Well, January 16th is almost upon us & I cannot wait to get my hands on this book! any Howler fans out there?


6. Defy the Worlds (Constellation #2) by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars (my review here) was my 1st Claudia Gray book & it won’t be my last. I had heard of Gray’s books before getting a galley for Defy the Stars & now I can see why. The world building in the start of this series is fun & introduces us to a A.I. whose dry humor will leave you smiling in disbelief. I was lucky to get my hands on a arc copy of Defy the Worlds but I’m still including it in this list because I will be buying a finished copy on release day. Gray has some of the BEST covers I’ve come across & I’m already obsessed with this one, April 3rd will be the day I get my hands on this pretty little book *heart eyes*


7. Whisper of the Tide (Song of the Current #2) by Sarah Tolcser

If you’re looking for high seas adventure, Song of the Current (my review here) is probably the book for you! I enjoyed the authentic pirate talk and the world building was on point with clothing, way of life, and mythos behind the Gods. What I loved most is that we get a POC MC who knows her calling in life and won’t easily be thrown off by a love interest. Caro is non-traditional & won’t settle for societal norms. June 5th I’m hoping you’re a warm day I can count on for a iced drink & return to the treacherous waters in this world 🙂


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

Oh goodness! I can’t even begin to describe my excitement over the follow-up to Daughter Of the Pirate King (my review here). I was so very lucky to have a arc recently gifted to me by the wonderful Ashley over at Socially Awkward Bookworm, she made my year! DOTPK offered up so many laughs alongside a kick a** MC who is the female Jack Sparrow. If Pirates of the Caribeean (prior to Depps shameful behavior) brought you much enjoyment, chances are DOTPK will be a hit for you as well. Ahoy Mateys! February 27th is the day the sequel finds its way to our shores 🙂


9. Grey Sister (Book Of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence 

I read my very first Mark Lawrence earlier this year & I’m so happy It was a good place to start after hearing so much about this well known author. Red Sister (my review here) was a 5 star gloriously bloody EPIC start to the Book of the Ancestor series! In my review I described the setting for Red Sister as Hogwarts mixed with a Ludus (like in Spartacus). Vivid  fight scenes, positive female friendships and positive LGBTQIA representation are just some of the things you’ll find in this new Fantasy. Red Sister is perfect for those who read only YA Fantasy and are looking to get their feet wet in adult Fantasy. April 19th is the date set to return this ruthless world 🙂


10. Catwoman SoulStealer (DC Icons #3) by Sarah J. Maas

I don’t really have much to say about this one…I own a copy of Wonder Woman which I haven’t read yet. I came to the decision that I wanted to wait for a few of these books in the series to be out before starting cause I reallllllly dislike waiting haha! I am VERY interested in how Selina Kyle is written considering she is half white/half Cuban. We’ll know more on August 7th!


11. My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

I’d link my review for My Lady Jane but it’s soOo old when I was still in my baby stages of blogging so no thanks hehe! My Lady Jane was the book to make my water almost come out through my nose smh LOL! So silly & filled with hilarious banter, I LOVED that book! from that book came the formation of The Lady Janies which are the 3 awesome authors who brought the characters I fell in love with to life. My Plain Jane is a MUST HAVE & THAT cover is giving me all the Summer vibes! I’ll see you on June 26th Jane  🙂


12. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Guide #2) by Mackenzi Lee

You may have noticed the cover for this title isn’t displayed above and that’s because there hasn’t been a cover reveal. Earlier this year I read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (my review here) which was a ton of fun. I’ve really been enjoying YA Historical Fiction lately & this is definitely one of my top favorites. Although I loved the MC Henry oh so much! I really ended up intrigued by his little sister Felicity & I know I’m not alone in this. The Goodreads Synopsis has the following listed:

A sequel to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, narrated by Felicity and featuring travel, pirates, and a science girl gang.

I mean…who can resist this?!?! Not I said Lilly…October 2nd is the day to pick up a copy!


Happy Wednesday Bookworms! this list took me a bit longer to type up than expected which is making me give post II the stink eye haha! (wayyyyy longer) & i’m sure I’ve forgotten others. Also, If I didn’t list a sequel it’s possible I haven’t read the 1st cause waiting sucks (Strange the Dreamer & Lady Midnight/Lord of Shadows I’m looking at ya). Please sound off below with any titles that come to mind <3’s!


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The Books Under the Tree Tag

Happy Saturday Bookworms!!! I’m currently enjoying my Christmas Eve Eve with the family but I’m taking a little break to come in here & spread a little tag joy. The Books Under the Tree Tag was originally created by Game Of Tomes two Booktubers that are new to me & I’ve already binge watched a TON of their videos, their channel is super cozy to watch. I was tagged by the wonderful Mel over @ Mel To The Any who I discovered just this year & OMYGAHHHH! seriously bookworms, check out her content & see for yourselves why she’s my newfound favorite!

Ok, it’s now 3:30am & I can’t sleep so I’ve returned to this tag since earlier today was hectic & I couldn’t finish. I’m beginning to wonder if my childhood excitement for Christmas Eve has stayed with me sub-conciously, keeping me up all night 🤔 not sure but my mind & body are not aligned 😂 not saying I’m grinching it but…On to the tag ☃️


What book would you like to find under the tree this year? 

 There’s only one book I’m looking for under my tree & it’s the U.K. edition of The Bear and the Nightingale *sighhhh* sold out on Book Depository, I’ve got notifications turned on for a re-stock but I’m not confident in that happening. Instead I will be ordering a copy from AbeBooks as a Christmas/Birthday gift to myself 🎁 and maybe I’ll even have it gift wrapped 😂


What is the best book you have ever received for Christmas? 

2 years ago my sister got me the Deluxe 1st Edition of Fables. It’s hardcover and pretty and I LOVE it! the illustrations are BEAUTIFUL and eye catching. 2018 is the year I binge Fables 🤗

When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile.
Di
the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society-within an exclusive luxury apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side-called Fabletown. But when Snow White’s party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Bigby, Fabletown’s sheriff, and a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf, to determine if the culprit is Bluebeard, Rose’s ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.


What book gives you all the Christmas feels?

Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling always stirs up Christmas feels for me. Specifically the arrival of the Beauxbatons & Durmstrang schools at Hogwarts. There’s also a Christmas tree scene in The Goblet of Fire movie that is pretty vivid in my mind…


What book do you plan on reading to put you in the Christmas spirit this year?

I’ve actually already done this when I picked up The Girl in the Towerby Katherine Arden in anticipation of snow & Christmas. Although this book isn’t about Christmas, there really is no other book (other than Harry Potter) that puts me in the wintery holiday spirit. Atmospheric and covered in snow, this sequel was the perfect book to put me in the X-mas state of mind ☃️


What book have you read this year that you would like to throw out with the Christmas tree after the holidays? 

Ha! a bit of a mean one here 😂 & I don’t typically have books that I’d toss out BUT there is one this year 😱…I really had high hopes for my very first Andy Weir read & it just didn’t even come close to what others felt about his other book The Martian. In fact, it really made me feel uncomfortable so no, I don’t plan on keeping my copy.


What is a book from this year that you would like to place under a friend’s tree? 

Mel & I have the same book in mind for this prompt & that’s because this book should be read by EVERYONE. I have my sister currently reading The Hate U Give & can’t wait to discuss the themes with her. Poignant, relevant, soul searching, impactful, and heart-breaking are only a few of the words that come to mind when describing this book. 2018 is the year we see it hit the big screen & I for one am trying to have as many loved ones read the book before then 💙

 


Challenge: Create a stack of books in which the spines alternate green and red! Share the titles.

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The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. Who do you tag?

I am a bit late with this tag since it’s now officially Christmas Eve 🙈but better late than never amiright? 😂 If you’re in the mood to do this tag, consider yourself tagged but in the spirit of the holiday, here are a few bloggers I have in mind for this tag (no pressure bookworms, it is the day before 😂)

Kristin Kraves Books

Socially Awkward Bookworm

Nerd Narration

WonderfilledReads


I wish you all a happy & wonderful holiday surrounded by those you love! 💕May your trees have a few books from your WISH-LISTS (if not all) waiting for you to unwrap. I will return next week with my highly anticipated 2018 reads🤗

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