SPOILER FREE REVIEW: GRACE AND FURY BY TRACY BANGHART

Title: GRACE AND FURY

Author: TRACY BANGHART

Pub. Date: July 31ST. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Pages: 320

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

Buddy Read: Melanie, Amy, Jules, Jen

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

   

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

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

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


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


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June Wrap-Up + Book Haul…A Little Bit Of This & A Little Bit Of That ;)

Hello Bookworms! When this goes live I’ll be counting down the last few hours in the office before I can do my FriYAy Dance 🤗 it’s been a long week & I am thrilled to finally start the weekend *huge sigh of relief* I’m actually participating in the #Smuthathon Readathon hosted by the lovely GingerReadsLainey & RileyMarie over on Booktube & so far it has been a awesome new experience 🙌🏼 Those of you lovely readers that have been around this blog for a while now know that I primarily read YA Fantasy/Fantasy however, sometimes a gal needs a pallette cleanser 😂 I am finding enjoyment in the books that I’m reading & so you’ll see the occasional New Adult, Rom-Com, or smutty read review on Lair Of Books. If this happens to be your wheel house, please leave me some recommendations in the comments down below 💜 For those who love Fantasy, fear not! I have a ton of titles I’ll be reading & reviewing throughout the rest of the year 😉 But 1st, let’s Wrap-up June…

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff (Unique AF! Kristoff really built a world from scratch including the slang, never read anything like this)4.5 STARS ✨ 

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (Audiobook, not exactly what I was expecting–RTC

The Queen Of Crows (The Armored Saint #2) by Myke Cole (Really hoped this would’ve gone a different way but still hoping for a strong follow-up–RTC)

Whisper Of The Tide (Song of the Current #2) by Sarah Tolcser (Favorite read of the month! EPIC & satisfying end to this duology)✨5 STARS ✨ 

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (a taste of Winter to to cool off in this summer heat, spell-binding!) ✨4.5 STARS ✨ 

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Fairest Of All: A Tale Of The Wicked Queen | VICIOUS | A Thousand Beginnings and Endings | BRUJA BORN | The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding | My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) | Smoke In The Sun (Flame In The Mist #2)| The Death Of Mrs. Westaway | Legendary | WARCROSS | Motor Crush Vol. 1

JUNE FAIRYLOOT

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Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart (RTC Grace & Fury was a 3.5 star read for me; favorite item in this box is costume mask necklace. Would’ve LOVED the journal if it was for a full year, instead it covers July-December 2018)

JUNE BOOK OF THE MONTH

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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (Recently found out that this is a series and after reading & listening to so many rave reviews, this is exciting news!!! really looking forward to this read)

Season 2 binge of Luke Cage was even better than expected! This is a Netflix show I really enjoy watching with the hubby for so many reasons! Ok, for me it’s all about the Wutang soundtracks Luke listens to while he kicks a** 🙌🏼😂🙌🏼 Luke is so old school & the show reflects that. The first season really made me fall in love with this show but season 2 solidified that love 💓 Luke is going through a transformation of sorts & by the very end he isn’t the same man we’ve come to love and trust. Also, we get introduced to a new character who challenges Luke & I surprisingly ended up enjoying. Why of why did it have to end? season 3 where are you?


June was one of those months that had me feeling off kilter which was mostly due to Bookcon at the very beginning of the month. I didn’t expect to read much of anything but ended up happy with the 5 books that I did finish. Surprisingly, I didn’t watch any movies. July however is already off to an AMAZING start so stay tuned for a more exciting Wrap-up/Book Haul for this month 😉


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: SPINNING SILVER BY NAOMI NOVIK❄️

Title: SPINNING SILVER

Author: NAOMI NOVAK

Pub. Date: July 10th. 2018

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Re-telling

Publisher: DEL REY

Pages: 448

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

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

    

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

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

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

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

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

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


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: WHISPER OF THE TIDE BY SARAH TOLCSER

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

Author: Sarah Tolcser

Pub. Date: June 5th. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: BLOOMSBURY YA

Pages: 416

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

Goodreads | Barnes & NobleAmazon

    

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

*Photos not my own, obtained from Pinterest

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

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


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2018 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Mid-year? I’d love the ability to time travel right about now or possibly even freeze time. Anything so that I can read all the books & I know y’all can relate *SOBS* I am however very thankful for having a really good quality reading year so far & hope it continues 🤞🏼 I’m thinking it will since many of my MOST highly anticipated releases of 2018 will be out later this year.

 

Original tag was created by ReadLikeWildfire and Earl Grey Books

Best book you’ve read so far in 2018

Children Of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

It’s been months since I read COBAB and yet I can still recall specific details. I have terrible short term memory tbh but the world Tomi has created is so rich and the characters have so much depth that they’re pretty hard to forget. Also, COBAB had one of the best endings I’ve read this year cause what I wanted to happen actually happened 😂 and I reallllllly need the sequel Children of Virtue and Vengeance in my little hands 🤗 lastly, Jimmy Fallon has started a Summer Reads Book Club and COBAB is on his list. Head on over to cast your vote if you loved it as much as I did! 💜

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2018

Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas #2) by Zoraida Córdova

Best in so many ways but mainly because it superceded the first book Labyrinth Lost which I also enjoyed. I really felt like Córdova went into her writing room and gave it her all in this book. Not only was the supernatural world expanded in this sequel but the character growth & development was A++!!!

 

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by:

Ellen Oh, Elsie Chapman, Melissa De La Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Renee Ahdieh, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette De Bodard, Cindy Pon, Alyssa Wong, Sona Charaipotra, Aisha Saeed, Lori M. Lee, Shveta Thakrar, Preeti Chhibber, E.C. Myers, and Rahul Kanakia

“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.”

This first bit of the Goodreads blurb was honestly all I needed to read to know this was one I MUST read this year. I am picking up my copy on Saturday & yes It’s all I can think about. Check out my amazing friend Melanie’s review here 🖤

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Ok, there are way too many titles that fit this prompt if I’m being honest. I decided to go with Archenemies (Renegades #2) by Marissa Meyer. Recently it was announced that it was being extended to be a trilogy which made me so happy. After THAT ending in Renegades!!! how could I NOT?!?😱😱😱 haha!  high hopes, I have high hopes 🤗

 

 

Biggest disappointment

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

No one is sadder than me with this one cause I really did think I was going to fall head over high tops in love with this one. Ultimately, there was some that I really enjoyed but MUCH that I did not. The positive is that the sequel or companion book being written will focus on the noir fairy tales written about in the Hazel Wood & that is what I loved most.

 

Biggest surprise

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Never did I ever think this tiny beautiful book would be so haunting! sucked me in and kept me entranced in this little town by the water. Still think about TWD & will MOST definitely re-read come this October. Also, Netflix will be adapting the book into a series & this just means more from this story which makes my 🖤 so happy!

 

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

This Morrocan Inspired debut YA Sci-Fi book seriously took me by surprise! I tried not to include an arc in this tag but as I scrolled through my “Read” shelf I quickly realized this has been my year of reading sequels so nothing really fit the bill for “new fave author” & I’m also not trying to repeat my answers. Mirage honeslty wasn’t what I expected in the best way possible, spoiler free review linked above 🖤

 

Newest fictional crush 

Kalen from The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco

The feeeeeels over this hate-to-love/slow burn Bookworms!!! 😍 caught myself having to fan myself a FEWWW times smh 😳😂 Would like some more Kalen in my life if the Book Gods allow 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼

 

 

Newest favorite character

Lemon Fresh from LIFEL1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Lemon Fresh has to be the MOST fun, loyal, roll with the punches character I’ve come across this year. Hyped to hear she’ll be getting her POV in the sequel 🖤

 

 

 

Book that made you cry

The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angleo Surmelis

This book hit close to home, it wasn’t pretty…it was brutal! which I fully expected going in with the knowledge the this was based on the authors own childhood experience broke my heart. My review contains Content Warnings.

 

 

Book that made you happy

My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2)

I was lucky enough to read this earlier this year thanks to an amazing friend! 🖤 I have a review going up on July 6th as I am participating in the #MyPlainJane Blog Tour 😃 and gahhhh! is all that comes out when I try to put words into sentences! I LOVE the lady Janies, they are an amazing trio of authors who deliver humor and paranormal twists to the beloved Janes of well known classics.

 

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Circe by Madeline Miller

I caved & purchased the U.K. edition Of Circe & I have ZERO regrets! This book is STUNNING both with & without the dust jacket 😍 I mean the FOIL bookworms! THE FOIL! #WEAK 😂 I do have a Book Of The Month edition I purchased before finding out about the U.K edition. I’m running a GIVEAWAY for CIRCE that ends on 6/29 over on my Instagram for the BOTM edition 🖤

 

What books do you need to read by the end of the year

Strange the Dreamer by MY QUEEN LAINI TAYLOR

I thought about listing all of the books I consider a MUST READ IN 2018! but there’s really only 1 book sitting at the very top of my TBR & that’s Strange The Dreamer. I am a lover of all things Laini writes & I have this weird thing with my favorites that I do…I don’t read their books when I know their sequel is light years away. Ok just 1 year but it sure does feel like an eternity when nothing compares in writing style to your fave author. Whelp the time has come! I’ve already pre-ordered my shmancy U.K. exclusive edition with the shmancy red sprayed edges 😍

Favorite book community member

This is such a tough question to ask because I honestly have so many bloggers I truly enjoy visiting & who I’ve developed genuine friendships with. That being said, the idea has been running around in my mind for quite some time now to compile a list and share the love. I also have come across many new bloggers with AMAZING content that I’d love to share with you all. Stay tuned for this bookworms! 🖤


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: LIFEL1K3 BY JAY KRISTOFF

Title: LIFEL1K3

Author: JAY KRISTOFF

Pub. Date: MAY 29th. 2018

Genre: YA SCI-FI

Publisher: KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS/RANDOM HOUSE

Pages: 416

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

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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GUSH Spoiler Free Review: The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

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

Author: Rin Chupeco

Pub. Date: March 20th. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS FIRE

Pages: 528

Buddy Read: Melanie from Meltotheany

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

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

Photo from Pinterest, not my own.

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

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

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


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


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REVIEW: MIRAGE BY SOMAIYA DAUD

Title: MIRAGE

Author: Somaiya Daud

Pub. Date: August 28th. 2018

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Pages: 320

Format: Physical ARC provided by the Publisher

*Thank you Flatiron Books for the arc in exchange for an honest review

Content Warning: Physical abuse, Kidnapping, and  Cultural erasure

Buddy Read: Melanie from Meltotheany, Amy from A Court Of Crowns and Quills, Julie from Pages and Pens, Jules from JA Ironside, and Chelsea from Chelsea Palmer

GOODREADS | BARNES AND NOBLE | AMAZON | BOOK DEPOSITORY

    

Mirage is Somaiya Daud’s Moroccan inspired debut that will leave readers wanting more from this author once the very last page is read. I’m not sure how I’d missed the fact that this is a Sci-Fi book when I first came across it however, this only further served to enhance my curiosity. The fact that it also spoke of poetry in the blurb was a major draw & wow! I had no idea how much of a treat I’d signed myself up for with this one. Daud gives us beauty and pain all wrapped into one with Mirage & that it’s set on another planet/moon is just the backdrop to this story. At its core, Mirage is a story about cultural erasure and the brutality faced by an invaded peoples. We are introduced to an MC who has had everything she values most taken away from her but somehow manages to hold on just enough to never surrender her spirit. I admired our MC, her values, culture, tradition, and people defined her and emboldened her to fight back. Mirage doesn’t read like a debut at all but instead that of the works of a seasoned author. Daud is an author I will be keeping an eye out for and hoping to everything that we get more of her writing in the very near future 🤞🏼

For Amani, receiving the tattoos on her face known as Daan on her Majority Night was everything to look forward to. A representation of stepping into adulthood, a rites of passage. Nothing could’ve prepared her for the events that destroyed her ceremony & took her away from those she loved. Kidnapped by imperial droids, Amani is taken covertly to the royal palace. There, she meets royal heir Maram who she is the spitting image of. Maram has plans for Amari that would make her a human shield. For Maram, being part Andaalan from her Mother’s side has always generated her much hate from the Vathek on her father’s side. She knows her life faces constant threat and figured Amani would make the perfect body double. Stripping Amani of her Daan was just the beginning, she is also made to learn Vathek mannerisms, history, and etiquette against her will and through physical abuse. Maram isn’t the only heir with a claim to the throne, she has an older sister who poses a threat and proving her worth to her father and the Vathek is her top priority.

We see Amani get sent out as Maram’s doppelganger which allows her an inside look to the politics of the kingdom. She also spends plenty of time with Maram which inevitably leads to learning her vulnerabilities. Part of acting in as Maram means keeping up appearances with her courtship as she is promised to Prince Idris ibn Salih. Idris is from one of the oldest and largest Andaalan royal families who once resisted Vathek invasion. Their concession to Vathek rule resulted in the loss of many lives and Idris the last surviving heir was pledged to marry Maram. The true test would be seeing if Amani could pass for Maram while in his company. Both Idris and Amani carry the weight of their peoples loss and pain on their shoulders. They both have so much in common that a connection is almost impossible not to make once they start spending time together as a part of their courting. This romance is dangerous and had my full attention from the very start, every meet-up had me a bit nervous for these two. We see both Amani & Idris make decisions in hopes of one day freeing their people which means they will also face some serious obstacles & I’m just here hoping theirs is a good ending 🤞🏼

If you’re looking for A+ world building, political intrigue, strong characters, Moroccan inspired culture, and yes a bit of insta-love (but I promise it’s the one you’ll want to root for 😂) and a bit of Sci-Fi along the way… then MIRAGE is the book you’re going to want to read! so much lush culture & tradition within these pages that I am left anxiously & patiently waiting on the follow-up.


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May Wrap-Up

This Month’s Wrap-Up comes to you very late & that’s honestly more because I’ve been going back & forth with the idea of eliminating my wrap-ups as a whole. I’ve been easing my way back in from a huge blogging slump and content has been on my mind a whole lot lately. Whelp! this is up mid June which means I decided to keep them but there will be some changes. I’ve been here for 2 years now and found that I really enjoy getting to know the bloggers behind the posts. I love reading a good wrap-up that gives me the 411 on the highlights some of my favorite bloggers experienced throughout the month. The bloggers who talk about the books they read, movies & tv watched, foods cooked/restaurants visited (extra lurking when baking is thrown in), travel, and anything really that gives me a better sense of the person behind the blog.

So I guess this means I’ll be sharing a little more of me on the blog on my Wrap-ups for now. This isn’t as easy as it sounds since I don’t really enjoy talking about me lol but sometimes breaking out of your comfort zones can be a good thing? this is what I’m going with haha! I’ve also been bitten by the travel bug which means future travel posts may be a thing as well. I hope you enjoy getting to know the bit of me that I do share here, especially since there are quite a few new bloggers subscribed. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you so *exhale* onto this Wrap-up…

Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas #2) (5 STARS) This sequel was EVERYTHING! finished it last week & it’s still on my mind. If by any chance you enjoyed Labyrinth Lost but it possibly didn’t blow you away…this is the sequel to do just that for you! not to mention the epic world expansion. Currently eyeing Zoraida’s Twitter for any kernel of news on book 3 smh 🙂

Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over (4 STARS) Cute & fluffy were just what I needed when I picked this one up and it did its thing haha!

MIRAGE (5 STARS) (Review to come next week)

Picture Us In The Light (5 STARS) I was very happy to have been invited to participate in the blog tour for this poignant read! this is one that has something for everyone and leaves you with a little hope but not before breaking your heart 😉

Nyxia: Unleashed (5 STARS) the author of this book Scott Reintgen is fully aware of how badly I want that last book in this trilogy, I hide nothing about my love for these books! honestly, if you’re looking for an AMAZING YA Sci-Fi look no further! the diversity is strong, the action intense, plot full of twists, female characters empowered & respected…I can go on & on but only ask that you pick this one up and see for yourselves cause it is SOOOO worth it!

CORRUPT (Devil’s Night #1) (4 STARS) I don’t really review NA on this blog but I think going forward I will leave some thoughts on Goodreads (link at the end of this post). I was recommended this book by my wonderful friend Melanie from Meltotheany & I’m now a full fledged Penelope Douglas fan! I will read anything she writes grocery list included bahhha! jk…not really smh. This is a very dark NA & there are a ton of trigger warnings Melanie lists on her review here. I will say this, if you’re looking for full fledged smut…this may not be the author for you lol. Douglas enjoys making her MC’s torture each other with epic long waiting/mind games but when it gets going it is A+ my friends! 😉

The month of May let me squeeze in two flicks at the theater & those were Avengers: Infinity War & Deadpool 2.

Image result for Avengers: Infinity War

    

Infinity War did NOT disappoint & it was a fun time watching all of my favorites come together for this AMAZING movie! perhaps most surprising of all was the complexity & depth of the villain Thanos. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy his story line so much but I did & it made me really appreciate how that took the story to the next level. Of course there was some heartbreak along the way with some losses but I’m still very excited to see the next chapter cause THAT ending *raises eyebrow* haha!

Image result for Deadpool 2

   

Not quite the 5 stars in my book & that came as a surprise cause I am a HUGE fan of Ryan Reynolds. The first Deadpool was effortlessly funny in my opinion but this one was laying it on to thick which made it seem to me as if they were trying to hard to keep up his rep for baddest mouth in the Marvel Universe. However, the second half was epic for many spoilery reasons so I’ll leave that out. I will say that I enjoyed the addition of Zazie Beetz as Domino and Josh Brolin as Cable (pictured above). Also, THAT ending threw me for a whirlwind but then again I should’ve expected that from the MCU 🙂

May was such a hectic month & reading 6 books was a feat cause my mind was in a million different places as was I hehe. Some of you may already know this, I am a mom of 2 tiny humans ages 4 & 7 and so that meant celebrating Mother’s Day was in the plans. I had this amazing breakfast cooked up my sister & hubby and some awesome gifts from said tiny humans and hubby. Had a wonderful dinner at this Japanese Steak place in Brooklyn called SALT + CHARCOAL. Their steak was AMAZING but I only ended up with a photo of their “green tea” cake which wasn’t my favorite at all but they put some effort into the presentation so…

I also came home to a package from hubby with the entire Mother’s Day LUSH collection which smells amazing & had some kick ass super hero bombs in it! I’m a scent LOVER & these all were the PERFECT gift that keeps on giving cause HELLO! ME TIME! baths + books = BEST LIFE!

The last week of May saw us take a road trip to Virginia to spend the holiday weekend with some family. Although I didn’t get to take pics cause we were having so much fun in the moment we all ditched our phones smh. I really do wish I had taken some photos of our bowling competition and trip to a sea side restaurant in the rain that was….interesting haha! I did however get a photo of my new haircut the day before we hit the road so I’ll just leave that down here…#shorthairdontcare

I’d like to say that the madness stopped in May but the very next weekend we got back from VA, there was BEA & Bookcon…


We are 6 days away from the first day of Summer & already life feels both lighter and busier all at the same time <3’s! I hope you’re all having an amazing month reading, watching, doing all of the lovely things! ❤


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May Book Haul

Hello Bookworms! a part of me wanted to believe I could abstain from buying or collecting books in any shape or form in May… what with BEA/Bookcon right around the corner first week of June SMH. Things didn’t quite pan out that way & May ended up being the month of book mail/approvals every other day. This isn’t the norm around these parts haha! but nonetheless I rolled with it & also finally purged my shelves of some books to make space for new stories…

The Poppy War | CIRCE | A Court Of Frost and Starlight | FURYBORN | To Kill A Kingdom | Girls’ Night Out

*Both FURYBORN & To Kill A Kingdom were 5 star reads, so happy to have them on my shelves! Girls’ Night Out is the only physical arc I received in May, super excited for this one since the thriller/suspense bug has finally bitten me 🙂

The Hating Game | The Astonishing Color Of After | Filthy Gods | OPAL | Ramona Blue

*Here’s where I started justifying my purchases smh…I have physical copies of Astonishing Color & Hating Game but I just couldn’t resist a good Kindle deal ($1.99) & said why not?!?  

No words…well maybe a few 😂 I can honestly say I’m excited over each & every one of these titles. I’ve already rated Bruja Born 5 EPIC stars!!! Scream All Night is not a book I’d gravitate towards cause spooky and I don’t mix. However, the publisher reached out after reading my review of The Dangerous Art Of Blending In & sold me on this book! Both What If It’s  Us & Blanca Y Roja are on my HIGHLY anticipated list. Adam Silvera & Anna-Marie McLemore are two of my FAVORITE YA authors, ANYTHING they write is a MUST read for this Bookworm! 💜

FAIRYLOOT

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ONYX & IVORY BY MINDEE ARNETT

    

Sprayed edges is almost always a win for me but Onyx & Ivory is one of those book I’ve really been looking forward to. This box was a slam dunk! from the beautiful book sleeve to the practical lip scrub I had heart eyes while unboxing 😍 the art print is STUNNING & I’m already using the page flags 💜 my least favorite item is perhaps the tea once again 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

BOOK OF THE MONTH

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THE PERFECT MOTHER BY AIMEE MOLLOY 


I hope you’re all having a wonderful day while squeezing in a good read or two along the way! 💜 if you’ve read any of the books I’ve posted here & think I should boost up on my TBR, drop a comment down below 💜


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