WWW Wednesday 10/18/2017

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently 40% into Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen & OMYGOSH Bookworms!!! It’s too early for me to start gushing about this book but it’s SO GOOD! I’ve had so many fellow bookworms read my status updates on Goodreads & get just as excited that I’m reading Nyxia. Beautifully diverse in such an interesting setting, Nyxia leaves you wondering what if we could all understand each others different languages. The most fascinating aspect of this book is that each character who signed up to venture to the newly habitable planet of Eden, is able to understand each other through a facial translator of sorts. The characters themselves are quickly becoming faves but never have I grown this attached to a male MC!!! I think I found the ONE! more to come on that 😉

On Monday I finished The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) by Lauren DeStefano which I believe to be a very solid start to this new YA Fantasy. I’ve already written my review which goes live tomorrow morning & can’t wait to chat with you about. I knew I had to throw my hat in the ring for this galley when I read the synopsis & got from it that this is at its heart a genderbend version of King Midas and the Golden Touch. As a kid I was always fascinated by stories & myths but I was always down to hear about King Midas. The Glass Spare was a hit in my book (jeje) & now I start my watch for the sequel with bated breath lol 🙂

Since I am desperately playing catch up with arcs after having a disastrous September with family (discussed in my September wrap-up), I am doubling up & powering through some October new releases. I’m pretty sure I’ll be done with Nyxia either by tonight or tomorrow morning. I plan on starting the following 2 titles next, both of which I’m beyond super excited for! they are very different from each other which is great because I have a ton of Fantasy titles to read after & the change of pace keeps me from genre burn-out haha. I’ve heard nothing but GREAT things for both of these titles, especially You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins which is a multi-generational YA Contemporary, take a look at those accolades down below bookworms! & Berserker by Emmy Laybourne truly appeals to my love for all thing Norse mythology, I have a feeling I’m going to love it 🙂


BERSERKER (BERSERKER #1) by EMMY LAYBOURNE

Are Hanne’s powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?

Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It’s not Stieg’s fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit.

No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous “gift”–she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.

Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.

Will they be able to reach their uncle, the one man Hanne believes may be able to teach her how to control her drive to kill? With Berserker, Emmy Laybourne, the author of Monument 14, presents her vision of an American west studded with Viking glory.


YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR by MITALI PERKINS

Nominated for the National Book Award | Six starred reviews: ★ Horn Book ★ School Library Journal ★ Publishers Weekly ★ Booklist ★ Shelf Awareness ★ VOYA

Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve Bengal tigers and her Bengali identity–award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3’s!


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Gush Review: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Title: Moxie

Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Pub. Date: September 19th, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary/Feminism

Publisher:  Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Pages: 330

Formats: eGalley

Trigger warning: Sexual harassment & attempted rape

    

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu but what I got was all around awesomeness cover to cover! If you are a feminist such as myself, picking up this book is almost a no brainer but even if you’re not, this may be the book to change that. Much like our MC Vivianne, I was witness to many of the sexist games played by the opposite sex that are seen as harmless. Viv lives in a small town & attends the local High School where the schools Football team is the center of town life. Everyone down to the teachers & principal give the football team  much favoritism. This led to the blind acceptance of their treatment towards the females in the school & Viv has had enough.

Grabbing inspiration from her mother’s box of Zines where she’s stored memories of her Feminist activist days, Viv sets out to bring change to her school. She decides that anonymity is probably best in a school where the captain of the football teams father is also the Principal. What starts off as a Zine left inside the girls bathroom stalls, snowballs into a feminist movement no one in their small town Texas school would’ve imagined. We follow Viv as she slowly builds up her confidence & finds her voice through a movement she names Moxie. We see girls from all cliques start to answer the call to take a stand against age old “traditions” that are degrading to the females in the school.

Although most of the action takes place in Viv’s High School, we do also get to see her home life. Having lost her father at a very young age, it’s just her & her mom. I loved seeing Viv admire her mom without her knowing & how organic their relationship translated on to the page. There are also some really strong female friendships giving Viv the validation she needs to know she is doing the right thing. Moxie is all about fighting back the tired ideologies of women needing to behave “lady-like” or proper. It strengthens & uplifts women coming together & how powerful that can be.

Illustration from Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Our MC Vivianne is not at all the person you see portrayed on the cover of this book, not at first anyway. She loves listening to her moms stories of growing up and fighting back the patriarchy. Quietly wishing she had the courage to do something about the jocks and administration in her school who think it’s ok to objectify girls/women. Viv’s character development felt authentic for a teenager living in a small town in Texas. She didn’t voice her opinions right away, she found her voice within the other girls in her school. Viv is hands down a fave character for me because every time she felt like throwing in the towel she didn’t & instead came back harder! Viv’s mom is legit one of the coolest & hardest working moms I’ve come across in YA. She’s a nurse working long hours but who also has an amazing relationship with her daughter. She may not know it but she is also the source of inspiration for Viv creating Moxie. Viv’s grand-parents live next door & we often seem them around dinner time. LOVED the inclusion of grand-parents since that is very rare in YA books. Better yet, the fact that Viv loves them so much and can equally accept her own frustration at their old school mentality made her all the more relatable. A place of comfort for Viv, the scenes with her grand-parents gave the book a homely feel.

Lucy is the not quite so new girl but still pretty new to the school. She is taken aback by the things allowed from the male students having come from a more progressive school/city. At times she also gave Viv the motivation she needed to keep Moxie going all the while not knowing Viv was its creator. Seth plays the new guy in school & fits the mold of quiet-loner-mysterious-guy but there’s more than meets the eye with him. I was pleasantly surprised with Seth but I’ll be vague because I consider that spoilery. The Moxie Girls are not just from different cliques, they are also diverse in skin color and ethnicity. The inclusivity promoted by Viv spreads like wildfire throughout the school encouraging many to join. LOVED seeing the diversity bringing girls together to bring change!

Can you tell I LOVED Moxie to pieces?!?! I couldn’t flip through the pages fast enough, easily a 2017 top fave for the empowering message it sends across. United, girls/women are a force to be reckoned with! We don’t have very many books like these encouraging girls to stand together & fight for their rights. As I am writing this review, Twitter is ablaze with the mess that is Harvey Weinstein & the brave soul that is Rose Mcgowan standing up to an industry known for covering up sexual harassment. My first thought was, how appropriate that I am writing this review now. We need more Vivianne’s & Rose McGowans rallying the troops of women, together we are stronger & won’t be silenced. I cannot recommend Moxie enough to Feminists & those who have yet to find their voice…we all have Moxie in us 💪🏽

*HUGE Thanks to Macmillan, Netgalley, and Jennifer Mathieu for the galley of Moxie in exchange for an honest review. The physical arc pictured below I won from a Twitter giveaway.

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Some Sites Jennifer Mathieu included in her Author Note:

Feministing.com

rookiemag.com

bitchmedia.org

bust.com

thefbomb.org

scarleteen.com

therepresentationproject.org


Can you see yourself as a member of Moxie? I sure can! are there any lovely bookworms who’ve read Moxie or plan to? sound off in the comments below <3’s! 


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WWW Wednesday 10/11/2017

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

*I started Moxie yesterday & am currently 53% head over heels in LOVE with this book! trying to stop myself from inhale reading it has been a challenge. The MC Viv is someone who knows she wants to be a part of the change needed in her school but fears being ostracized. Her mother is her inspiration for the creation of Moxie, a “zine” aka magazine calling all girls to stand united against the sexism & misogyny widely accepted in her school. Best part: getting to see the Zines Viv creates, LIVING for the illustrations! ❤ review to come this week.

On Monday I finished & reviewed the EPIC time traveling adventure that was Invictus by Ryan Graudin (my review). If ever I were to have a checklist of things I’d like to see in a YA Sci-fi book, Invictus sure came close to meeting them all. Fun, well paced, amazing characters you can’t help but get attached to…sigh…I miss this crew so MUCH!!! *sobs* while I wait for Graudin to bless us with news of ANYTHING else set in this world, I’ll console myself by reading her other books 🙂

A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

Next I’ll be reading The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) by Lauren DeStefano. I was lucky enough to get a Galley from Harper & can’t wait to dive in. From the synopsis I’ve gathered that this is sort of inspired by King Midas and his golden touch. I’ve also heard mention of mental health & disability rep being included in this story which makes this a MUST READ for me. 


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3’s!


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GUSH Review! Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Title: Invictus

Author: Ryan Graudin

Pub. Date: September 26th, 2017

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publisher:  Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Pages: 464

Formats: eGalley & physical ARC

    

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

Since finishing up Invictus I’ve gone on a Ryan Graudin video binge on Youtube…this is when I KNOW I love a book! when I can’t let it gooooo! *cue Elsa/Frozen*  well in one of these videos Graudin mentions getting inspiration from Dr. Who and Fire Fly. These are shows I’ve only watched in passing & that now have immense curiosity for after finishing this book. Time travel alone has always intrigued me in Sci-Fi & that’s probably because I love History so much that the idea of traveling back to ancient Rome was SUPER appealing. We get introduced to our MC Farway Gaius McCarthy as he preps to take his final SIM exam to determine whether he is Recorder material. You only get 1 shot to pass this exam & failure means expulsion. Things go haywire during his SIM & Farway is given the boot from the academy. Being the best of the best, Farway knows his exam was tampered with however he has no real way of proving it. Faced with the reality of having all of his dreams of one day commanding his own time travel machine & crew taken away, Farway is quick to accept a offer from a Boss in the black market.

The opportunity: to man his own time travel machine in exchange for his services stealing valuable pieces from the past that will not be missed.

Translation: Stealing valuable pieces that won’t alter history & in turn alert the time travel police.

Farway of course gathers his most trusted friends from the academy and forms his crew to carry out these heists through different periods in time. When I think of my experience reading Invictus, the first word that comes to mind is FUN! popping in & out of time, wearing period fitting costumes, stealing ancient items all the while trying to stay incognito was insanely fun! Besides the awesome plot we get this great set of characters you can’t help but get attached to. I feel Graudin accomplished exactly what she said she set out to do with this crew & that was making them feel like home. By the end of the book I could tell you who was who blindfolded & that just made my reading experience all the more better. In terms of plot pacing I wouldn’t say it was fast paced however, there was never a time something wasn’t happening with one of the characters. There are also elements of parallel universes which I’ll be the first to admit intimidated the hell out of me however, I was able to follow the madness without having to double back haha!

Farway- at the top of his class, he knows he is destined for time travel. He is also well known for being born outside of times parameters. His mother is a Recorder of much fame garnering recognition for her many achievements. The truth about Faraways conception however is one well kept secret. Faraway wants nothing more than to follow in his mother’s footsteps in hopes that it will lead him back to her (trying to be vague here lol). It’s hard not to like Farway, he’s great with his friends aka crew and isn’t scared to take some risks for the sake of time travel 😉

Imogen- I LOVE THIS GIRL! I mean, who wouldn’t love a character who wakes up every day & colors her hair in with different colored chalk? 😂 funny, sweet, always positive, & loves her cousin Farway to pieces! She also keeps a Red Panda fur baby she named Safron who is feisty & offered up a couple of laughs along the way. Imogen is also the Historian on the crew & is in charge of researching the time periods they’ve been sent to steal from in order to dress them all accordingly.

Gram- you can find Gram at his station playing with his rubix cube & or computations to make sure they land in the exact time period desired. He is the Engineer who double majored as a recorder & basically I saw him as a Jack of all Trades. Gram is also a POC & I was glad to see this brought up by him seeing as time traveling may take them to places that would put him in danger. Gram is a very quiet character with a high IQ & the few times he was off the Invictus to aid in a mission I really enjoyed (hope to see more of this).

Priya- The medic on board & also resident beat master, Priya is known for compiling epic playlists. Her spicy Chai tea keeps everyone going & when she isn’t jamming to her tunes she can be found either patching up one of the crew members with stitches OR lending her mechanic skills to the maintenance of the Invictus.

Eliot- This character is SUPER mysterious & carries with her many truths. At first she annoyed the hell out of me but I came around to appreciate her resourcefulness. Without saying too much about this character for fear of spoilers, I will say that she kept things very interesting on board. As the source of Farways frustration I thought Graudin was writing her in as a love interest however, I’m so glad that isn’t the case & that her role is way more interesting than that.

I loved this cast of characters & the dynamic they brought to the page on board the Invictus. Although we don’t get a ton of time to delve deep into each one, I felt Graudin gave us enough to get to know them for their quirks & personalities. If you loved the cast of characters in Gemina, then chances are you’ll also love this crew 😉

Many of my book blogging buddies have recommended Graudin’s books & until now sadly I hadn’t picked one up. I’m so glad I finally listened & found a new favorite. This was a almost 500 page book and yet it didn’t drag & actually left me flipping for more pages knowing very well that I had reached the end LOL! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED the ending & how everything led up to what isn’t necessarily a happy ending but one full of hope…these are always the best in my opinion. I haven’t seen any news of a sequel however, it was left with plenty of room to expand which again leaves me oh so hopeful! haha. In the mean time I have my imagination to conjure up ideas of where this crew could possibly be headed next, although not as good as Graudin, it will have to do 😉

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*HUGE Thanks to Little Brown Books, Netgalley, and Ryan Graudin in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Bookworms! I’m hoping some of you out there have already read & loved Invictus cuz I am really trying not to fall into a book hangover & need some support lol! who was your fave character? better yet, do you know if Graudin is in her lair writing us a sequel? *fingers crossed*


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September Wrap-Up & Book Haul

Happy Tuesday in Fall Bookworms! I friggin LOVE this beautiful season to pieces but I can’t write a wrap-up without mentioning recent events that hit close to home. September wasn’t a easy month to get through with Hurricane Maria affecting the island of Puerto-Rico where one half of my family lives. That being said, I have a pretty pro-active family doing everything possible to make sure we are doing our part in helping and providing for our loved ones. Hoping for a much better tomorrow as our family here in New York continue to send relief in hopes that the basic needs are met. The world is hurting & I know I myself can’t turn a blind eye, it has definitely weighed heavy in my heart & thoughts each & every night. Reading has always provided a sense of comfort but once disaster hit, for the first time in a long time I had no desire to read at all. It took me about 2 weeks to get through my 6th book of the month Girls Made of Snow and Glass. I chose to push through seeing as it was the only thing allowing my mind to pull back a bit from the sadness. Fantasy will always be one of my top favorite genres for its very nature asks that you suspend belief in reality which was much needed. The stories I read this month only helped booster my need to help & do more. Heroines like Mira Minkoba from Before She Ignites helped me be more aware of my own anxiety & triggers when faced with a issue that seems like it can swallow you whole. This month has showed me the strength in family unity (ups & downs) and I have hope we can come back stronger than ever…

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ★★★★ 

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows ★★★★1/2

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett ★★★1/2

Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast ★★★★1/2

Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor ★★★★★

Runaways #1 by Rainbow Rowell & illustrated by Kris Anka (no review for this 1st issue, will be reviewing trade paperback of Vol 1 when it’s released)

These weren’t small books my friends, I didn’t intentionally set out to read 400+ pg books but that’s exactly what happened lol. This is why I had to throw in a novella and a comic. Besides being thick books, they were also very slow paced (all of them) which contributed to the docking of stars. I love character driven stories which is probably why I still really enjoyed all of my reads. Night of Cake & Puppets let me re-visit some of my fave characters with the addition of awesome illustrations. Runaways managed to seriously stir my curiosity for this comic run, I’m already signed up with Comixology to receive each issue as they are released. Girls Made of Snow and Glass has to be the freshest most unique re-telling I’ve ever read. Before She Ignites gave us our first MC in YA Fantasy with anxiety & OCD. Zero Repeat Forever was so sad bookworms! *sobs* LOVED IT! & lastly, Even the Darkest Stars had potential however it fell victim to its Mountain setting. All in all, a quality reading month 😉

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Snot Girl: Green Hair Don’t Care Volume 1

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff (no, I haven’t read Nevernight but I have every intention of doing so & Bookdepository is notorious for selling out of these editions *sobs* lol)

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (gift from who who listened to me RAVE about this book every single time I put it down lol)

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas (a gift from my hubby who has already read & rated this installment 4 stars…he’s stingy with the stars so this is a good sign)

Wonder Woman (DC Comics #1) by Leigh Bardugo 

Warcross by Marie Lu

September Owlcrate

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Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1) by Jodi Meadows

September Book of the Month

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Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (my pick for the month, the other 2 were add-ons)

The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo  (a gift from my Soul twin Gretchen over at @ChicNerdReads, she’ll be making her return to book blogging this week so YAY!)

OHMYGOSH-THIS-SHOW!!!! I legit didn’t know just how much I LOVE Jason Bateman till’ I binge watched Ozark! for those who are fans of Breaking Bad this is one you’re going to want to watch. The pilot episode was ominous and slow yet I knew I’d be watching the 2nd episode to see where it was going. Marty Byrde played by Bateman comes across as if he were on auto-pilot after a life changing event puts him & his family in a very sticky dangerous situation. Unraveling bit by bit it almost feels as if our MC will lose it any minute but he perseveres. Laura Linney who plays his wife is a character who grew on me, I did not love her from the start but grew to appreciate her later on. I’ve always been attracted to stories set in small towns & the characters they produce, in Ozark everyone has their own agenda. I don’t want to give anything away, part of what makes this series so good is the mystery that surrounds it.  There are many jaw dropping moments & an ending to knock your socks off lol.

Happy reading in October Bookworms!!! October is already setting itself up to be a good Bookish month with some FAB reads. Comic Con later this week should be fun, let me know if you’d like a post on my 2 days there. Also, if you’ve read or watched any of these? drop your comments down below <3’s!


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Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Pub. Date: September 5th, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-telling/LGBT

Publisher:  Flatiron Books

Pages: 384

Formats: eGalley

   

*Opted to leave out the Goodreads Synopsis this time as I usually do whenever it’s too spoilery. With so many unique twists, this is one you’ll enjoy unraveling yourself sans the blurb 😉

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is THE modern Snow White  re-telling I’ve been waiting for since the day I realized I didn’t need a Prince Charming to come rescue me on a horse. When I started questioning fairy tales & the incompetence of Kings all the while they had a kick a** intelligent Queen sitting on the sidelines. With an almost entirely female cast, GMOSAG gives the classic fairy tale a unique and fresh spin that will leave you feeling empowered by the very last page. Perhaps most importantly it shatters the clichéd belief that women in leadership roles cannot co-exist. In our cast we get a new Queen to a widowed King, a female Surgeon in service to the King, and a court council run by women. The men in this re-telling play the role of secondary characters.

Told in third person POV, we get both Mina (new Queen) & Lynet’s (King’s daughter) stories in past and present times. Mina’s story unfolds in an earlier time when she first met the King at the age of 16 & decided she wanted to be Queen. Living in a village with her Magician father has been no easy feat, feared by the townspeople in the South for her father’s abilities. Mina herself is walking talking proof of his abilities. Having died & been brought back to life with a heart made out of glass, Mina has been raised by her father to believe she neither has the power to love or be loved & that her beauty is her only asset. Mina however proves to be resourceful & intelligent, always observing human behavior. She studies the King and soon realizes that his daughter is all that he cares about. Never once did she expect to get attached to the Kings young daughter Lynet or what that could potentially spell for her future as the present Queen. We follow Mina as she helps raise Lynet from toddler to young adult all the while thinking that their future rivalry is inevitable.

Each of these characters came to life on the page. Well fleshed out, complex, and flawed they rope you into this cold tale of love, loss, grief, and ultimately defining what family is to you…

Mina- I love my villains, they often bring the most meat to a story & such is the case with Mina. She comes from the South where everything is warm and lush with life & the transition to Whitsespring castle in the North is the total opposite. This however doesn’t stop her from fulfilling the role of Queen & stepmother to young Lynette. Although she lacks a beating heart, a part of her wants so badly to feel loved. Her marriage to the king isn’t what she expected but she never once takes it out on Lynette. I don’t want to give away too much but this is one character I really enjoyed seeing develop. She isn’t the evil Frost Queen we all come to expect from fairy tales but I can appreciate that since women in  power are already thought of as Frost Queens in real life & I can do w/out that in my books 😉 

The King- My least favorite of the characters for oh so many reasons! but the biggest one being that he’s down right selfish. Yes, he’s a wonderful doting father but once you read this book you’ll see a man who just couldn’t let go.

Lynet- Besides Mina, I actually really enjoyed Lynet’s character. She knows her father sees her late mother in her & that he’s raising her to one day be Queen. Trying to fill her mother’s shoes however isn’t something she wants. Far from it, Lynet enjoys scaling castle walls & s spying on people…particularly the new Surgeon *smiles* there’s also more to Lynet than meets the eye but that would be spoilery so I’ll leave you to find out that interesting secret on your own 🙂

Nadia- new surgeon in service to the crown, Nadia spends her days in her laboratory poring over her books. The friendship to romance progression with Lynet was on point! I was rooting for these two all along 🙂

The Magician aka Mina’s father- Adding this guy to my list of most hated villains of all time! I’m beginning to see a trend with Magicians being this nefarious. This man seriously takes the prize though! playing all his cards close to his chest, he is one to keep an eye on.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is easily one of my favorite Snow White re-tellings of all time. I was the kid who had no interest in Prince Charming. No, my interest was more with ingenuity…always asking why the princess had to wait in the tower instead of finding a way out. This is the Snow White story that I’ve been waiting for with messages of female empowerment & Queens that don’t need saving. I LOVED the fact that this was a mostly female comprised cast & that we got LGBTQIA+ representation. The only reason I docked GMOSAG 1 star is because of the very slow pacing all throughout. There aren’t fast paced action sequences, this is a story told primarily through dialogue and stream-of-consciousness. That being said, I was invested in these characters til the very end. The last line in this book is PURE PERFECTION!

*HUGE Thanks to Flatiron Books, Netgalley, and Melissa Bashardoust for the eGalley of Girls Made of Now and Ice in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor

Title: Night of Cake & Puppets

Author: Laini Taylor & illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Pub. Date: September 12th, 2017

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Formats: Physical ARC

    

In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first date—as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.

Night of Cake & Puppets is the novella that follows the 2nd book in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy which happens to be one of my TOP FAVE trilogies of all time! also the reason why I’ll read anything Laini Taylor writes….EVER! I first read this novella a few years back after reading the trilogy & still remember how much I ADORED it to pieces. When I heard through the Bookish Grapevine of an illustrated edition I knew I had to read in physical format. I’m so very happy to have received this ARC from the publisher, the illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo are ON POINT! he captures the humor & quirk of this beloved character & gives the best scenes in this novella an extra dose of magic. Di Bartolo is Laini’s husband & that perhaps makes him pretty much the perfect person to illustrate this story since I’m guessing he’s had some time to get to know these characters very well. I thoroughly enjoyed his illustrations & would love to see more of this collabo 🙂

Night of Cake & Puppets is a novella set in Prague, home to Karou and her BFF Zuzana. While Karou is off on a mission (no spoilers for the DOSAB trilogy) Zuzana is on a mission of her own: to capture the heart of Mik the Violinist or at the very least his kiss! 

Zuzana was an instant fave character for me because of her eccentricities, whenever I think of her the quote “Though she be little, she is fierce!” comes to mind. Just like her grandfather, Zuzana designs puppets that are very life-like as well as a bit creepy. She is a lover of all things strange, dark, and magical which makes her a perfect BFF to Karou who is all of these & more. It also manages to catch Miks attention who is working in the same stage play as Zuzana. Before Karou went off on her adventure aka scavenger hunt, she blessed Zuzana with 5 scuppies which will grant her 5 small wishes. With her scuppies for back-up, Zuzana sets out to plan the most romantic night ever sprinkled with a touch of magic.

Mik is one of the few male characters in YA that I LOVE & as such, the next time I get asked on a tag to choose a book BF (terrible memory), my pick will ALWAYS be MIK! ❤ ❤ ❤ he’s that person, the one that wishes they had a more exciting life & is just waiting for THE night that will catapult him into said life. When he first sees Zuzana, he admire her fierceness from afar but couldn’t bring himself to talk to her. Their awkward almost encounters started to increase & he was genuinely intrigued by the mystery surrounding her.

Zuzana concocts this plan for the night she’s chosen to make her feelings known to Mik but it’s going to take some participation & effort on his behalf as well lol. I was completely knocked off my feet, left smitten on the floor (not an easy feat) with this magical night from start to finish. Taylor pulls you in for the night taking you through the streets of Prague while it snows & these two complete opposites take part in their own scavenger hunt. I honestly think Laini Taylor’s pen is infused with magic & whatever she writes is destined to come to life on the page & the readers mind. Highly recommending Night of Cake & Puppets to everyone! although it would be ideal to have read the first two books in the Daughter & Smoke and Bone trilogy, it is not a pre-requisite. You will however probably end up wanting to know more about Zuzana’s mysterious friend Karou & how she comes about those magical scuppies haha! Also…there’s Cake 😉

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*HUGE Thanks to The NOVL/Little Brown Books & Laini Taylor for the Night of Cake and Puppets ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Title: Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1)

Author: Jodi Meadows

Pub. Date: September 12th, 2017

Publisher: HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 400

Formats: eGalley 

    

Filled with political intrigue, betrayal, and well fleshed out characters, Before She Ignites is the start to what I’m sure will be a epic Fantasy. We get introduced to our MC Mira Minkoba who comes from a prominent family & whose father wrote the Mira treaty. Because of this she’s also been groomed to be the face of the treaty aimed at creating peace & unity among the 7 islands against any outside threats. On these islands, people co-exist with dragons who are respected and known as the children of the Gods. For their own protection against humans, dragons were relocated to the Sanctuary (large piece of land separate from civilians) & it is there that Mira and her two best friends go to train with dragons.

Mira is passionate about dragons & when she discovers some nefarious dealings concerning dragons, she takes it to the Ministry thinking they will get to the bottom if it all. When she is imprisoned without rhyme or reason and taken to the Pit, everything & everyone she thought had her back are no where to be found. Worse of all, Mira is left to deal with her crippling anxiety in a dark & lonely prison cell. Almost the entirety of this book does take place in prison & so, although above ground there is a lush & mystical world, below ground for Mira it is a completely different way of life. While the lover of dragons in me really wanted to see Mira bust out of prison, hop on a dragon & kick some a** haha! I understood by the end of this book that the time Mira spends in jail is crucial to who she will become in the next book. This essentially is the catalyst for her transformation, she is broken down & left raw. There were some scenes that were hard for me to read as a person who also deals with anxiety & mild OCD. The Mira we meet at first is no where near who she is by the time you read the last sentence.

Before She Ignites is Mira Minkoba’s story through & through. We do get a set of amazing secondary characters both before her time in the Pit & underground. However, the focus is Mira & I’m glad for this because never before have I read a book with an MC who suffers from crippling anxiety & seen it play center stage like it does for so many in real life. Also, our MC is a woman of color as seen depicted on the books cover, & as I am a proud advocate of diverse MC’s, this made me very happy.

A little bit about Mira… she is someone who prior to being imprisoned, was used to a comfortable life enjoying routine. She has a skin & hair routine in order to maintain her beauty and servants tending to her every want or need. The cushy life however, hasn’t changed her heart towards those around her. Mira at her core is someone who believes in the foundation of the Mira Treaty. She comes from the island of Lovers & as such values friendship above all. Having been sheltered all her life & treated as a puppet by her own mother, the Pit seems like the end of life for her. Seeing this character grow & really come out of her shell was so empowering! her episodes felt so real & my heart broke to see her be reduced to the littlest version of herself but the come up was so worth it. Her anxiety is very much a part of her & we see her continue to deal with it til the very end. Stand-out Secondary character: Aaru, a prisoner from a neighboring island known for its silence. This character is just as broken as Mira & he doesn’t speak, instead he communicates in a different manner. I’d like to see what becomes of him in this journey.

Although the time we get on the island is brief, the description of island life was so appealing. The reader most definitely does time in the Pit along with Mira, which now that I’ve had some time away from it, realize how much more rewarding the sequel will be. Although it may seem slow paced, there is always something happening with our MC. She is learning her new environment & we get to see a side of her that she hasn’t herself yet explored. There’s cruelty all around her but there’s also humanity in the darkest of places. The time she spent with the dragons although brief is enough to let us know they will play a much bigger role in the next book. There’s also more to Mira than meets the eye but first we had to see her transformation. This is a heroine I can get behind & root for!

Interestingly enough, although the majority of this book is set in prison, Meadows did a FANTASTIC job of world-building above ground. We get the history behind the 7 islands and the Gods they were named after. Each island has something they’re known for & it made for a richer world. I am really looking forward to continuing on with this trilogy & can’t wait to see what’s next for Mira…

*HUGE Thanks to Harper/Katherine Tegen Books, Edelweiss, & Jodi Meadows for the eGalley of Before She Ignites in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Readers! has anyone read or plan on reading Before She Ignites? I’m really hoping for some more on the page time with the dragons in the sequel & have a strong hunch that it’ll be the case *fingers crossed* 🙂


Review: Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

Title: Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars #1)

Author: Heather Fawcett

Pub. Date: September 5th, 2017

Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

Pages: 304

Formats: eGalley 

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

   

I typically read the Goodreads Synopsis before writing my Plot summary & I’m a bit confused this time around. The order of events & how they happened aren’t exactly correct in the synopsis & this is the first time I’ve seen this happen on GR. So, my Plot discussion will differ from what is listed in GR and for that reason I’ve decided to exclude their synopsis from my review.

We meet our MC Kamzin in the midst of the excitement surrounding the arrival of River Shara, a famed explorer for the Royal Emperor. River has been tasked with finding a Talisman of great value for the Emperor. However, his business in her small village is yet known, Kamzin’s sister Lusha is skilled & well versed in the study of the stars and maps & it is assumed River is there for her assistance. Kamzin however, isn’t one to be left behind & so she sets out to meet this man of great fame in order to join his quest. A turn of events (vague for fear of spoilers) sees Kamzin paired off with River Shara as his guide. Kamzin may not know much at all about astrology however, she knows maps better than anyone & she also has grit, a quality River admires. For Kamzin this is the opportunity of a life time to see the world outside of her small village, it’s also a chance to step outside of her older sisters shadow. However, when it’s revealed that Lusha is also on her own mission to retrieve the Talisman it becomes a race to the finish. The Talisman is rumored to be located at the very top of the tallest most deadliest mountain. Many have attempted this climb including Kamzin’s own mother, and none have made it back. We follow Kamzin, her bff Tem, River, a Shaman, and two adult siblings (brought along for their physical strength) as they take on the grueling task of climbing Raksha.

The plot is slow moving start to finish which if you really think about it, is fitting to their journey. Getting to the top is no easy feat & it also isn’t without its losses. Something to keep in mind: the entire story takes place in the middle of mountains & ice and so you can expect it to be very character driven. These traveling companions have a ton of time on their hands to get acquainted & that made for many moments of comedic relief. I can easily see this book play out on the big screen with the beautiful backdrop of the icy mountains. The author really gives you vivid imagery that had to have taken some serious research. That being said, I did feel that the descriptions of the climb itself did have an impact on the plot itself. The ending felt a little rushed but it also didn’t make me lose interest in continuing with this series. I NEED to know what happens next!!! haha!

Although there are some amazing side characters in Even the Darkest Stars, I’ve decided to highlight the main players on the chess board…

Kamzin- This MC has to be one of my newest faves for her persistence, ambition, intelligence, determination, and true grit! she will not give up once she’s set to task. She’s also very funny unintentionally, Kamzin is being trained to be the next village Shaman when we meet her but she’s terrible with magic & has no problem critiquing herself.

Lusha- I really wanted to like Kamzin’s older sister but sadly she was as cold as the mountains they were climbing lol. I did love that she is a wiz at Astrology & that her Familiars are two fierce looking Raven so there’s that.

Tem- Kamzin’s bff who had a romantic past with her but has since settled for friendship. I enjoyed this character & how well he wielded his magic. perhaps what I liked most was how he never made Kamzin feel bad for her shortcomings.

River Shara- This guy! lol smh, he’s charismatic & lives life on the edge. I really enjoyed the banter btwn. him and Kamzin, there were many LOL moments. I’m very curious to see how he develops in the next book & what path he takes 😉

The Familiars-  I mentioned Lusha’s Ravens but the real star of the show goes to kamzin’s Familiar Ragtooth. A feisty little fox who has Kamzin’s back with or without invitation lol. It’s rare for anyone to have a Familiar aka a animal protector & so that makes these siblings really important in their village.

Ultimately, Even the Darkest Stars was an enjoyable journey with amazing characters both human and animal. There were some aspects I would’ve liked to have seen expanded upon like the “villains” in this story. Although we do get some of their backstory, we don’t actually get much on-the-page time with them & our cast of characters. The final part of their journey also seemed a little rushed but it also spiked my interest up ten fold for the next installment. I am really looking forward to the follow-up & getting some of my questions answered. I had so many LOL moments which is rare in Fantasy so I’m hoping for more of that as well. Even the Darkest Stars has a very cinematic feel to it & I can’t wait to see what Fawcett has in store for us next 🙂

*HUGE Thanks to Harper/Balzer + Bray, Edelweiss, & Heather Fawcett for the eGalley of Even the Darkest Stars in exchange for an honest review

Hello Readers! has anyone read or plan on reading Even the Darkest Stars? I was OBSESSED with Ragtooth! I need more furry book companions please & thank you 🙂


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WWW Wednesday 9/13/2017

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?


I tend to finish books in the middle of my work day leaving me stumped with the question of what to read next? NOT TODAY! I knew I’d finish my book in the morning & so I grabbed a arc from my shelves that I have been super stoked to get to! Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor!!! this will actually be a re-read for me since I read this a few years ago along with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. This however is the first time the Novella is published in print edition and it includes S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G black & white Illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo. Laini Taylor is one of my top 5 favorite authors and I’m excited to revisit Zuzana and Mik’s first date. I loved it the first time around, these characters are 2 of my faves & are total #relationshipgoals haha!


I also recently started Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer however, I haven’t had much free time to listen to this audio-book. Now that I’ve finished my current read I can focus more on this book. I can usually read and listen to 2 different books at the same time however, this last read was very slow paced & took a bit more effort on my behalf to finish reading.


This morning I finished Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett & gave it a 3.75 star rating. I will be writing my review tonight, I did enjoy the characters in this book immensely however, the issues I found with pacing/world-building are why I rated it a 3.75. Overall, I have so many good things to say about ETDS & I do plan on continuing with this series 😉

 


Having just finished a book whose world had humans living side by side with dragons, I knew I’d be craving more! I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about Before She Ignites from my fellow blogger buddies which has me hyped up. I was approved for a galley on Edelweiss & will most likely inhale this read within the next 48 hours lol! Before She Ignites hit the shelves just yesterday & I can’t wait to see what the buzz is all about 🙂


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3’s!


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