Spoiler Free Review: Sorcery Of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Title: Sorcery Of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Pub. Date: June 4th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 456

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

When I first heard mention of this book my bookworm heart couldn’t contain the excitement. Who among us wouldn’t love a story set in a library where books come to life? magical grimoires bound by chains for the safety of the people and the wardens entrusted to keep watch over them was simply a story I couldn’t resist. We get introduced to Elisabeth who has been living in one of the Great Libraries in Austermeer since the very young age of 8. Abandoned by her parents, Elisabeth finds comfort being among magical grimoires. Eagerly & passionately training to one day be a Warden is her main focus. Steadfast in the beliefs passed down to her, Elisabeth views sorcery and its wielders as a great evil. Her life as she knew is turned upside down when one of the MOST dangerous Grimoires is released into the world & she tries to intervene in order to protect the people. Elisabeth finds herself implicated in a crime she didn’t commit and trying to prove her innocence sets the tone for the book. Everything Elisabeth once believed to be true & the right way of doing things comes into question. She begins to see that it’s not as simple as good or bad/right or wrong, that there are gray areas. In a world conditioned to view Sorcerers, Demons, and Grimoires as dark & unredeemable, Elisabeth has to decide whether to stick to her values or challenge the foundation of it all.

Elisabeth I cannot stress how much I LOVE this MC! she isn’t your typical female heroine in many ways. Described as taller than your average and wielding unusual strength, Elisabeth is sword ready. She isn’t beyond falling in love but she wouldn’t prioritze a romantic partner over saving someone in need. It isn’t easy at first when she finds herself needing to team up with the Sorcerer Nathaniel and his demon but it allowed for some character growth. I loved her clumsy ways & the contrast of it all when taking her physical strength into consideration. Most of all I loved that she tries to see the good in humans/inhumans despite what she’s be brought up to believe.

Nathaniel MOST sarcastic love interest award goes to *drum roll* Nathaniel Thorn! he is fully aware of his GQ status amongst the ladies & will mention his MOST eligible bachelor status to Elisabeth in jest. Loved how he didn’t take himself too seriously. The slow burn romance Nathaniel is in denial of taking place is my new fave! seeing him try & fail in giving Elisabeth the cold shoulder had me shaking my head and smiling all to myself. This character also happens to have a very tragic family history & you can’t help but want to see him get his happiness.

Silas The Demon who is bound to the Thorn family, specifically Nathaniel. Silas is hands down my fave character in this book, he has lived many lifetimes & worked with many kings. Fashionable, blunt, and never allows Elisabeth to forget that at the end of day he is a demon and it would be a terrible misstep for her to forget that. Silas feeds Nathaniel the magic he needs to be a sorcerer in exchange for 20 years of his life. He serves Nathaniel hand & foot but more than that he is all that Nathaniel has in his life, he considers Silas his only family.

*Honorable mention: Katrien aka Elisabeth’s BFF doesn’t get a ton of page time but just enough to get to know her personality & quickly wish you had a ride or die like her. Katrien is fearless & a quick thinker, she is who Elisabeth turns to for assistance in clearing her name. 

Sorcery of Thorns has some amazing characters that will have you shipping and rooting for their success, it’s very easy to get invested in their relationships. We get some queer rep with a main character who states they’re interested in more than just girls and a supporting character who is on the ace spectrum.

Content Warning: panic attacks, loss of a loved one, torture, violence

“For these were not ordinary books the libraries kept. They were knowledge, given life. Wisdom, given voice. They sang when starlight streamed through the library’s windows. They felt pain and suffered heartbreak. Sometimes they were sinister, grotesque-but so was the world outside.”

Beautifully written, Sorcery of Thorns will transport you into every bookworms dream setting. Filled with magical libraries and Grimoires that come to life with a variety of personalities, it’s very easy to get sucked into this world. I did struggle a bit at first with the pacing of the story and I’m a lover of descriptive lush writing which left me trying to pinpoint the reason why it was taking me so long to finish. I don’t think I ever came up with the answer but still feel my time spent in this story was well spent. One of the things I loved most however, is how we were kept in the loop of current affairs taking place in this world via news snippets. This made me think of the Quibbler in the Harry Potter world & how much it really breathes life into the story. Set in the 1800’s with demons, sorcerers, and a Otherworld, Sorcery of Thorns is perfect for fans of Cassie Clare’s The Infernal Devices. This is a stand-alone & although I would’ve loved to get more books featuring these characters, I am very pleased with how it all ended.


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Spoiler Free Review: Middlegame by Seanan Mcguire

Title: Middlegame

Author: Seanan McGuire

Pub. Date: May 7th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Publisher: Tor.com

Pages: 528

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

🖤ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review 🖤

I think I’ve finally met my match. This book is like no other I’ve ever come across in so many ways but trying to summarize it is just not going to work. Clever, dark, multi-layered…this story will sink it’s claws into you & keep you until all hours of the night. One of my my all time favorite classics is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein & all throughout my time with this book I kept getting those mad scientist vibes. Alchemy is at the center of this story, we get introduced to Asphodel Baker who is a very advanced alchemist ahead of her time. Being a woman, Asphodel encounters challenges by her own peers & decides to take matters into her own hands in order to leave behind her legacy. She begins her work to try & bring into physical manifestation, the Doctrine of Ethos. The Doctrine holds the secrets of the Universe ultimately granting it’s keeper a lot of power.

Asphodel creates Reed in her lab; he is some parts human, creature, alchemy & magic. Reed is meant to outlive Asphodel and carry on her legacy which he does & then some. Reed splits up the Doctrine into two of his creations, twins Rodger and Dodger. One is gifted with all things mathematical knowledge & the other comes with a mastery of language. We watch these twins grow and mature via alternating points of view as they live separate lives. When the twins establish a connection via what can be seen as some sort of telepathy, it becomes clear that staying away from each other is impossible. They have no idea how powerful they are individually & how dangerous they can be when they come together.

This book is 500+ pages but its non-stop action & character development. It won’t be for everyone, it will demand your complete attention but it will also introduce you to some of the MOST unforgettable characters you’ll ever meet on the page. McGuire gives us alchemy mixed with magic, mad scientists, telepathy,  math & words that form their own language for these twins and at its core a story about family & friendships.

Content Warning: Murder, suicide, torture, abandonment, mass murder,  violence 

Reed is Asphodel Baker’s greatest creation so much so he’s outdone his creator. Reed is a master manipulator, great at sitting back and observing before he strikes. Reed is only interested in one thing: world domination. He will stop at nothing to create the perfect set of twins that can embody the Doctrine & ultimately extract it from them for power.

Leigh is Reeds creation & honestly she inspired fear in me the MOST! even more so than Reed himself. In some ways I did feel Reed also feared Leighs detachment from humanity. Leigh loves taking apart (twins) the creations she keeps in her lab in the most grotesque of ways.

“Her bones were stolen from the graves and deathbeds of thirteen brilliant women- and if those deathbeds were made by a long-dead alchemist, rather than by natural selection, she has no sympathy for them”

Erin is Leigh’s creation & true to the understanding that the predecessor is more superior…Erin does manage to keep Leigh watching over her back. This character plays an interesting role because she’s used as a pawn with the twins and their development. Erin’s life is directly affected by the decisions made by the twins on any given timeline. Erin could quite possibly be the single most cold blooded TERRIFYING fictional character I’ve ever come across!

Rodger & Dodger- these twins hold within them a genius level of knowledge over language and mathematics. They have a sort of telepathic way of communicating with each other. An understanding that whatever happens to one, the other will feel as well. I loved seeing the twins develop from adolescence into their adult years. Their bond is strong and we get that depth through the years as they come into awareness of their power. They may just be artificially created however, I felt this sibling bond deep in my core.

This is one of those rare reads you come across every once in a while that I feel might come off as too smart or too complex when trying to understand the he science of it all. Personally, I enjoyed the characters the MOST & glad for it since this is a very character driven book. It’s not at all a easy read, oftentimes painful seeing these twins who can’t help but be driven towards one another but cause so much destruction in their union. I felt this on another level because Dodger was left with abandonment issues that played a major role in her growth & development. We see suicide attempts & anxiety rule over her life meanwhile Rodger tries to understand it all to be there for her. He is the #1 most important person in her life while also being the one to bring her the most pain. I may not have been a fan of the plot as a whole but I have a deep level of respect for these three dimensional characters. This book is hella dark & not for the feint of heart but ultimately it will keep its hold on you when given the chance. I’m SUPER curious now to read all of McGuire’s other books and would recommend Middlegame to anyone who loves sibling stories, sci-fi, twisted villains, and alchemy.


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Spoiler Free Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Title: Wicked Saints

Author: Emily A. Duncan

Pub. Date: April 2nd. 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Wednesday books

Pages: 385

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

This may just speak to the dark corners of my soul but once I started reading this book on a flight to New Orleans, there was no other place I’d rather be. Between the pages of this dark gothic fantasy a war is being waged between Kalyazin & Tranavia. Kalyazin, a land of people who still believe in the Gods that ruled them. Gods who have partially retreated their presence but have chosen Clerics to use as messengers and vessels for their power. The war however has pretty much wiped out almost all Clerics & only one really powerful remains hidden in a Monastery to be protected at all costs. The one who is believed to be the end to this war against Tranavia. This is a land of people who have turned their backs on the Gods in favor of free will. Referred to as heretics, Tranavia set out to never to be controlled or be at the mercy of Gods whims. They chose instead to tap into blood magic and cast powerful spells. They’ve eradicated any and all signs of the Gods & made it so that the Gods cannot access Tranavia. We get introduced to 3 pivotal characters who all have a role to play in this war. Their lives somehow interconnected…

“You could be exactly what these countries need to stop their fighting. Or you could rip them apart at the seams.”

Content Warning: War themes, Violence/gore, parental abuse, Self-harm (cutting as part of the magic system), torture, alcohol abuse 

Credit: Orulyon-Sama @ Tumblr (Click on photo for link)

Nadya Lapteva Our MC is a powerful Cleric chosen by the Gods. She stands out among the few that are left due to her ability to communicate and draw power from all of the Gods. This alone made this character a total bad a** to me! I LOVED how she learned the personalities of all of the Gods she called upon. Which ones to approach with more caution than others. Nadya is dutiful & devout, she takes her role in this war very seriously. My only gripe with Nadya was that she’s got a whole lot of power and wisdom bestowed upon her & yet her judgment is severely clouded in matters of the heart. I don’t just mean with regards to the love interest but also when it comes to the Gods she serves without question. I hope to see some maturity from this character in the follow-up, especially after the way things left off.

Malachiasz Czechowicz a VERY powerful Blood Mage who from the very beginning is hard to read. It’s hard to go into this character without spoiler so I’ll leave it as vague as he was upon first meeting him 😉

Serefin Meleski The crown Prince sent to the front lines as a blood general. Serefin is one of my favorite characters in this story. It couldn’t have been easy being born a more powerful Blood Mage than your father & in turn have him hate you for it. Serafin knows he has a target on his back placed there by his own father. Serefin wants to end the war but he isn’t without his faults.

Although the story is centered around the three MC’s we do get some awesome side characters from both the Kalyazin & Tranavia sides. There are no clear cut good/bad characters. Everyone is fighting for what they believe to be right in order to end this war. I really enjoyed the relationships between all of the side characters as well as seeing the diverse representation. We get POC characters as well as a sexually diverse cast on the page. One of our side characters who plays sort of a right hand role to the Crown prince is disabled. My only hope is to see more of these characters brought to the forefront in the follow-up.

Wicked Saints is just the book I was looking for to get me back in the mood for YA Fantasy. It checked off so many of the things I believe make for a good story. I felt immediately invested in the characters and their relationships with one another. I questioned Nadya’s choices in general but can see this was necessary as a foundation to who she will become. Many have compared Malachiasz to the Darkling from the Grishaverse whom I wasn’t really sold on. Malachiasz however…is 50 shades of messed up! it doesn’t get more darker than this guy right here. Complex characters, interesting blend of religion in a fantastical setting, complete with a magic system I was genuinely intrigued by…This was a 5 star read by the time I’d read the last page & a pre-order for the follow-up is definitely in the future.


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WWW Wednesday 4/24/2019

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

A little coffee along with the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode playing in the background sets the mood for a long overdue WWW Wednesday post. I don’t want to jinx myself but I’ve been reading non-stop & with that comes reviewing. I second guessed myself on being able to draft up a review since I’ve been on hiatus for a while but I was very happy to see it felt very much like coming home. This year I’m very focused on quality reading which I’m hoping means less meh & more awwwww shi**!!! haha! This also means, I will be making use of the good ol’ DNF if necessary. Something I’ve never done cause my personality often gets in the way, my mind says I MUST finish whatever I start but that’s just not realistic or fair to myself at this point. My last two reads were both 5 star reads motivating me to sort of (haha!) create a TBR which I may just post 😉

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Currently I’m 60% into this read set in Seattle, leaning towards 3.5-4 stars. It’s my first read by Jenn Bennett & it has stirred up interest in towards her other books. The romance in this one had to grow on me but it only gets cuter as the story progresses. There’s a LATINX side character I am ABSOLUTELY love! & the MOST creative first date ever that has me all in my feels. I’ve always been enamored with the idea of one day living in Seattle, this book reignited that dream 😍

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan

This book truly surprised me in the BEST deliciously dark way possible! 🖤 Confession that may get me in trouble: I was never a big fan of The Darkling in the Grishaverse…YUP! I said it! no backsies. The villain in Wicked Saints has been compared to the Darkling & I feel this villain is WAY more appealing while also being 50 shades of messed up. The last 30% had me in its clutches & I cannot wait for the sequel. The magic system is A+! I’d recommend to those who were fans of Children Of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi. If you love the premise of a MC who is divinely protected by the Gods & can communicate with them, this is your book. If said Gods also happen to have a range of personalities on the page, this is your book. My 5 star review will go live tomorrow 4/25/19.

Middle Game by Seanan McGuire

“Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.”

I was very blessed by the Book Gods to receive an ARC of Middlegame earlier this year (LOVE TOR!!!) & it’ll be my very 1st Seanan McGuire read. I don’t know very much about this book other than it featuring twins, one whois a genius with words and the other with numbers. That they aren’t necessarily human & that this may be somewhere between Fantasy & Science Fiction. It’s a pretty thick book that is set to release May 7th so I am making it my next beast to tackle. I’ve heard some mixed reviews but mostly that it is quite the odd read & I can dig that so fingers crossed I do hope I enjoy this one 🖤


 It’s that time of year when I try to aggressively tackle my TBR in preparation for BEA. Good thing I’ve been craving books like water cause the shelves have been crying for some TLC 🖤 I hope you’re all falling in love with some amazing fictional characters & stepping into worlds that leave you wanting more 😉


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: DAISY JONES & THE SIX BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID

Title:Daisy Jones & The Six

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pub. Date: March 5th. 2019

Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 368

BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | GOODREADS

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I found myself like many others who really enjoyed this story, finding it hard to believe that this band wasn’t real. I satisfied my need for it to materialize by listening instead to the Spotify Playlist created by Taylor Jenkins Reid as inspiration while writing this treasure of a book. Set against the backdrop of the 60’s/70’s when sex, drugs, and Rock n’ Roll was a huge part of American culture, we  get introduced to this fictional band. Told in interview format, we get the story of how this band came together and eventually how they came apart. How Daisy met the six bandmates & the music they went on to create while also getting bits & pieces of actual historical events taking place around this time period. I was immediately swept away by each of these characters lives, their wins & losses. We get what I believe to be one of the BEST EPIC love triangles in Fiction that left me all in my feels days after I’d read the last page. We also get not 1 but 3 feminist AF characters that will leave you feeling empowered every time they walk off the page. TJR explored some hard hitting themes like drug addiction, substance abuse & abortion relevant to this time period without actually glamorizing any of it. These bandmates are a family I got to intimately know, making this a story I was truly invested in from start to finish.

Content Warning: substance abuse, abortion, addiction, cheating

Whenever I think back to my experience with this book, the characters are what come to mind first. Wonderfully fleshed out, complex, raw, and unapologetic these characters feel authentic. Of course I have my favorites but they all brought their unique voice to the story. Daisy Jones is a character who from a very early age was left to her own devices by her parents & as a result prematurely discovered the L.A. night life. Known for her free spirited personality & strikingly beautiful blue eyes, Daisy quickly became sort of an icon. Daisy is a beautifully broken character you can’t help but love. There was no taming anyone could impose on Daisy who has a take it or leave it attitude. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Daisy Jones! as destructive as she could be at times, she still had a limit which made me appreciate her all the more. Billy Dunne who is the lead singer & star of the show (before Daisy came along) is a character I had a love/hate relationship with. Billy is used to getting his way & being the main attraction. This at times can get frustrating & we see power struggles at play between bandmates. What I loved about Billy however, was his love for Camila who is sort of the unofficial bandmate. Billy struggles with his demons (alcohol & women) & is far from perfect but he so desperately wants to be THAT guy for Camila, the one he thinks she deserves.

“Love is forgiveness and patience and faith and every once in a while, it’s a gut punch. That’s why it’s a dangerous thing, when you go loving the wrong person. When you love somebody who doesn’t deserve it. You have to be with someone that deserves your faith and you have to be deserving of someone else’s. It’s sacred” 

Camila Martinez better known as the glue that keeps this band together is hands down my FAVORITE character in this book. A LATINX feminist who loves unconditionally & never gives up on those she loves.  Camila is legit the definition of strength, she believes whole heartedly in the love she shares with Billy but she isn’t blind to the reality of their situation. Some of my favorite scenes featured Camila and every time I placed myself in her shoes my heart ached.

Karen is the one deeply understated character who had a ton of depth. Married to her musical career, she doesn’t see herself settling down to start a family anytime soon. Perhaps the most feminist character in this book, Karen is way ahead of her times making her role all the more important.

I truly loved everything about this cast of characters so much so that I can’t get them out of my head. I fell deeply in love with this story & each of its characters, returning for a re-read is inevitable!

My very first Taylor Jenkins Reid novel & I can honestly say I was left blown away! I read a physical copy & really enjoyed the interview format used to narrate this story however, some have found this to take away from their enjoyment of the story. I am currently listening to the audiobook version & HIGHLY reccomend to those who couldn’t get into this story in physical format. The full cast of characters production has brought this story to life in a whole new way & I am LOVING it! the writing brought the 60’s/70’s to life & I felt as if I was standing on the Sunset Strip watching a young Daisy find her way into bars/clubs. Lastly, the inclusion of the songs written by Billy & Daisy is BRILLIANT! not only are they well crafted songs but they ignite the raw emotion that was being felt between the characters stuck in this love triangle. I may have just found my new favorite author & will most definitely continue to read TJR published books as well as anything written in the future.


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: PRIDE BY IBI ZOBOI

Title: Pride

Author: Ibi Zoboi

Pub. Date: September 18th. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Re-telling

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper

Pages: 304

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

BUSHWICK BROOKLYN MURAL (Photo = link to source)

🖤 ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review 🖤

There’s so much good to say about Ibi Zoboi’s Pride and why it’s such a relevant read for readers living in New York City or any major city for that matter. This is a Pride & Prejudice re-telling of sorts or as Zoboi calls it, a ‘Remix’ 🖤 but at its heart it’s a story about one girls love for her neighborhood and the effects of Gentrification. We meet Zuri Benitez, a young Afro-Latina (Haitian-Dominican) who loves slam poetry and everything about Bushwick Brooklyn. Zuri lives with both her parents and three sisters on a city block where everyone knows everyone and they treat each other like family. Her mother nurtures her daughters and the neighbors through her cooking and block parties bring everyone together with food and music.

Things in the neighborhood start to shift when a abandoned house across the street from Zuri gets turned into a mini mansion. Zuri and her sisters watch as movers move in pieces of expensive furniture and artwork all the while wondering what kind of family would be occupying this mansion. Zuri is very protective of her neighborhood and the people who have roots there, meeting this new family has her apprehensive. The Darcy family moves in, mom + dad with their two handsome young black sons. Zuri’s sisters immediately introduce themselves but Zuri isn’t trying to be welcoming. For Zuri, this family moving in means a change in dynamics for her neighborhood. All around her are the remnants of gentrification, changes that have changed the landscape of her home. We follow Zuri and her sisters as they navigate college life, college applications, crushes on cute boys, and their identity within the community they were born and raised in as it transforms.

It wouldn’t be a Pride & Prejudice remix without the romance of course & that we do get with THE hate-to-love of all ages! 🖤 Zuri may not be acceptant of the Darcy family moving in but she’s also very aware of just how attractive Darius Darcy really is. It’s the pride for the neighborhood she grew up in that keeps her from seeing Darius and his family in a more positive light. Weaved in throughout Pride are themes of Socioeconomic diversity, race, stereotypes, and gentrification that are quite relevant & currently being talked about within many New York City communities.

Ibi Zoboi writes amazing, authentic three dimensional characters with rich voices I just can’t get enough of. Our MC Zuri is passionate about everything & everyone she loves. She values the culture within her community & doesn’t want to see it washed away by gentrification. The dialogue between her and her friends & family felt like home to me as a fellow born & raised Brooklyn native. I love how fiercely protective Zuri is of her sisters and neighbor. Her rose colored glasses have long been gone & she is able to pick up on the stereotypes and issues many in the minority class face. Some of my favorite parts with Zuri are the moments of introspection we get to see through her Slam Poetry.

There are so many characters we meet along the way but I LOVED the focus on family and the relationship between all of the siblings. We get to see Zuri interact and cope with seeing her older sister leave for college while she is in her last year of High School herself. We get some humor & overall silliness from Zuri having to now step up as the big sister in house to her younger twin sisters who are a bit of a handful. Zuri is well loved & respected within her community, her good reputation is something she’s proud of as one of the Benitez girls. The community plays its own character as well as they watch over these girls making sure they stay on the right path.

Last but not least are the Darcy boys who move into a neighborhood they really don’t know much about. Their family is well off financially and were able to buy the mansion across the street from Zuri’s brownstone home. I don’t believe Darius ever truly understood why Zuri was so proud & passionate about her community & in many ways came off as privileged. It wasn’t Zuri’s job to educate him on his surroundings (although that she did MANY times) but she often found herself trying to make him see that the walls that make up his home don’t change what’s outside. Realizing the Darcy family moving in does serve as a catalyst for change, is perhaps the toughest thing Zuri has had to face. So many interesting characters bring this Bushwick remix to life! ❤

Although we see the Pride & Prejudice influence in Pride, this story stands on its own as a modern day tale of maintaining your identity in a ever changing city. There’s so much to appreciate in this story, from the authentic dialogue to the relevant issues currently affecting those who live in major cities. Zuri’s community reminds me of the one I grew up in which is but a few blocks away from Bushwick. Community gatherings & block parties where the parents fed the neighborhood was very real. Looking up and seeing the one Grandmother who watches everyone’s kids & worrying about whether she’s going to tell your parents about that boy/girl she saw you flirting with was VERY real haha! but also, the reality of receiving an offer by a landlord to move you out in order for them to sell to a developer for a lump sum is also VERY real. The neighborhood I grew up in no longer looks like what I remember & the debate on whether that’s a good or bad thing is still going strong. Regardless of it all, home is where your loved ones are & this story although bittersweet is one way of looking at a brighter side of things 😉


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: THE PROPOSAL BY JASMINE GUILLORY

Title: The Proposal

Author: Jasmine Guillory

Pub. Date: October 30th. 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages: 336

Buddy Read: Melanie, Stephanie, and Leigh

🖤 ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review 🖤

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

   

The Proposal is a companion novel to The Wedding Date, a Contemporary Romance released earlier this year. In TWD, we meet Carlos who is the best friend to the male protagonist and who also frankly inadvertently stole the show in my opinion. It’s rare that I find a male lead I get so attached to 💓that I want to see more of their story but such was the case with everyones favorite Pediatrician Carlos Ibarra. When Nikole Patterson begrudgingly attends a ball game with her actor boyfriend and his buddies, she wasn’t expecting to look up & see her name misspelled on the jumbotron. She also wasn’t expecting it to be a proposal from the guy she’d only been dating a couple of months. Stuck in an awkward situation in front of millions world-wide, she tries to talk some sense into him. Meanwhile Carlos & his sister who are sitting behind Nik, come up with the idea of rescuing her from the most humiliating situation as it unfolds. Pretending to know Nik, they whisk her away from the reporters who are quickly approaching to interview the woman who turned down a very public proposal.

*Photos from Pinterest*

What started off as a act of kindness turns into a sexy friends with benefits arrangement with both parties on the same page. Of course, we all know these types of arrangements can turn messy when one person starts to blur the lines and break the rules 😌 We follow Nik & Carlos as they get to know one another through group friend dates, food dates (OMYGAHH! you can taste the food right off the pages! 😋), sexy nights, and unexpected events that make it hard to stick to the rules.

Content Warnings: Grief, Talk of death of a loved one, Racism (Challenged), pregnancy complications and miscarriage, talk of past verbal abuse (non-main character)

When I first caught wind of Carlos getting his own POV story I jumped for joy and hugged my pillow! I mean, could it be I was getting THE story I so badly wanted when I first met this handsome Mexican Pediatrician in The Wedding Date?!?! 😍😍😍 Why YES! YES it was happening and I was so on board! To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Drew the MC in The Wedding Date & found him to be a bit of an a** but his BFF Carlos, now there was a guy I’d date and here’s why…

Carlos No longer practicing medicine much, Carlos is now the Assistant Director of a teen clinic where he counsels youth. Carlos has a HUGE heart & has stepped into the role of Patriarch after his fathers passing. With many women in his family to look after, he pretty much has made it so that he doesn’t have time for dating. He knows that the day he meets THE ONE, he will give her 100% of his time & that just isn’t something he sees s possible. I love this character so much but he isn’t flawless by any means, at times his protectiveness can come off as being pushy but he is quick to catch himself in those moments. Overall, Carlos is someone who wears his heart on his sleeve & given how saturated books are with toxic masculinity (not to mention IRL) he was refreshing to get to know.

Nik Fiercely independent & I wouldn’t go as far as calling her a commitment phobe but she’s not trying to get attached any time soon. Having just come from one awkward as hell situation with the last boyfriend, Nik is just going for light & fun. No strings attached. She’s a journalist with pieces published in a few major publications & writing is where her heart is at. I enjoyed Nik’s character for many reasons but the feminist in her really called out to me most. I loved seeing her interact with her friend group & also the coverage she gave a small gym owned by a woman who had a second chance in life after leaving a controlling abusive marriage (loved the message behind this characters intro). I loved the passion she has for her work & her overall helpful nature with those she cares about.

Nik’s friends Dana & Courtney Usually friend groups offer up a few good scenes & laughs but Dana & Courtney really raise the bar. Super supportive, these friends aren’t the type who’ll just say they’ll be there for you whenever you need them. They are present in Nik’s life and empower one another. Whether it’s joining a self defense class in solidarity or saving a batch of cupcakes from their shop for you on a day when you need it most, these are your ride or die friends.

Fun, sexy, filled with food and good times against the backdrop of Los Angeles; It’s my opinion The Proposal is more enjoyable than its predecessor. I rated this a high 4 stars simply, I honestly wanted Nik’s background\family life a bit more fleshed out. Told in multiple POV’s we get to see Carlos’ family & his awesome sibling relationship. Although we do see Nik’s friend group, we don’t get any of her family background. Nik is a strong independent woman & I would’ve loved to dig into her backstory a bit. Also, although I loved Carlos & still do, I almost felt his actions towards the end didn’t quite fit his personality at all. It just didn’t make sense considering how he met Nik & so I felt a bit resentful towards him for that reason alone. Last but definitely not least, I will continue to read all that Jasmine Guillory writes because of how beautifully diverse all of the characters are. The Proposal is a Contemporary Romance between Carlos a LATINX/Mexican man & Nik a black woman but we also get Courtney a Korean plus sized woman & Dana a black lesbian woman. The diversity and important topics woven in throughout Guillory’s books set them apart & will always make them a go-to for this bookworm 💜


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SEPTEMBER BOOK HAUL

Hello Bookworms! I haven’t done a book haul since July here on the blog (book buying never stopped) & that’s because during the end of August/beginning of September I was on vacation. My first one in over 10 years & it was the most magical & happiest place on earth…more to come -pictures too- in my Wrap-Up. In September I got two subscription boxes and one Exclusive Box. My Kindle probably saw the most love during September & I’m kind of happy it worked out that way cause I’m way overdue for a un-haul & cleansing of my physical shelves. I’m really excited for the books that I did haul, they’re titles I have been eagerly anticipating and can’t wait to dive into. We’ll start this haul off with a little Gosling appreciation *heart eyes*

Image result for i see books memes

 

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From Here To You | Unbroken 13 Stories Starring Disabled Youth (my review)| City Of Ghosts | For A Muse Of Fire (Litjoy Crate) | Darius The Great Is Not Okay | Vengeful (Owlcrate Exclusive Edition)| Mirage (Fairyloot)| Archenemies (#Booksfortrade)| Shadowhunters & Denizens of The Downworld | City Of Bones 10th Anniversary Edition (Gift from the hubby)| Runaways Vol 1

FAIRYLOOT

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Mirage (my review) by Somaiya Daud

I read Mirage as part of a ARC Buddy read & was surprised in a good way to find that it’s a Sci-Fi Fantasy. I wasn’t expecting the sci-fi aspects but loved every bit of the world building this 1st book delivered. As for the FL box, with the exception of the shoelaces (major side eye) I’m really satisfied with the contents of their September box. My fave items are the art prints, notebook, and candle…although if I’m being honest I can’t smell anything from these teeny tiny candles so it’s more for the label *shrugs*

Fairyloot art prints & apron with quote

Owlcrate Vicious & Vengeful Exclusive Edition

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BOOK OF THE MONTH

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The Silence Of The Girls | The Mermaid And Mrs. Hancock

*Making an active effort to read these sooner rather than later 😉

KINDLE & AUDIBLE

The City Of Brass | The Last Namsara | Evidence Of The Affair | Atheists Who Kneel and Pray | The Poet X (Audible) | Pride (Audible)

*Review for Pride goes live on 10/4*

eGalleys

Enchantée | 99 Percent Mine | The Devil’s Thief (Blog Tour & Giveaway!!!!) | The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried | Slayer | Crown Of Feathers | Serious Moonlight | The Kingdom Of Copper


Hello Bookworms! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day with your next best read ❤ The next two weeks are HUGE in the publishing world with so many great new releases what are some you’re excited to see hit the shelves? Sound off in the comments down below 😉


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Blog Tour: The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell Spoiler Free Review + Giveaway!!!

Title: The Devil’s Thief

Author: Lisa Maxwell

Pub. Date: October 9th. 2018

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 704

🖤 ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review 🖤

WEBSITE (BUY LINKS) | MAIN WEBSITETWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM

    

In this spellbinding sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Last Magician, Esta and Harte set off on a cross-country chase through time to steal back the elemental stones they need to save the future of magic.

Hunt the Stones.
Beware the Thief.
Avenge the Past.

Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined.

Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it.

To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them.

In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.

As past and future collide, time is running out to rewrite history—even for a time-traveling thief.

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I’m just going to preface this review with a whole lot of thanks to the publishers for inviting me on this tour! The Last Magician was one of my top favorite books of 2017 & ever since then my heart has been eagerly awaiting any bit of news I could get for a sequel. The Devil’s Thief was everything I could’ve asked for in a follow-up & it will for sure be on my list of top favorite reads for 2018! ❤

Lisa Maxwell can continue writing books set in this world with these characters for the rest of eternity & I’d never tire! I thought it couldn’t get better than The Last Magician which was EPIC, atmospheric, full of action and that 1920’s NYC magic (see my review here)….coming in at 704 pages, The Devil’s Thief not only holds it’s weight, it DELIVERS!!! full of those plots twists that made it’s predecessor a page turner, The Devil’s Thief hits the ground running. This time around we get introduced to a couple of new characters along with our beloved crew of misfits. Esta and Harte are back & legit my heart could not be filled with more happiness to get more of one of all time favorite ships!<3 If you’re like me & you wished to have had more backstory to some of the side characters from The Last Magician, this book will give you all that and much more! Both Viola & Jianyu get more page time & seeing them more fleshed out only further grew my attachment to this cast of characters. Maxwell is one of those authors that gets multiple POV’s right! I love reading fantasy books in this format but find that often the characters just blend into one another. Here we have distinct voices that carry their personality all on their own, this matters when reading a behemoth of a book.

While I felt The Last Magician balanced action/plot + Character development really well, this sequel is a lot for focused on the characters. Of course I didn’t mind since I LIVE for books with characters like these but for those who love a good plot driven story, this might be a bit of a change of pace. This isn’t a bad thing in my opinion, there were still many parts that I found myself not being able to put down the book. However, we do get some slower pacing & to be honest, I for one was a bit thankful since we do get a ton of time travel between centuries and different cities. I praised Maxwell’s world building in the first book but I was left shooketh with The Devil’s Thief! I legit felt I was in St. Louis during the World’s Fair in the 1900’s so much so that returning to my every day tasks felt like a chore. I constantly wanted to be immersed in this world.

A+ world building, character development and beautiful story telling to ignite the imagination are just some of the main reasons to pick these books up! If you love Diverse Fantasy that comes off the pages organically, look no further! Maxwell has characters in her books from all walks of life, they are layered and three dimensional. One of my favorite characters to come out of these books is Viola, I wished so hard to get more from her & that wish was granted. We get a beautiful F/F romance that only further solidified Viola as my all time fave. I also enjoyed each of the new characters introduced & already am highly anticipating book 3! *adds St. Louis to list of places to see*

Lisa Maxwell is the New York Times Best-Selling author of THE LAST MAGICIAN. Also of UNHOOKED, SWEET UNREST, and GATHERING DEEP. When she’s not writing books, she teaches English at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

 

 


Grand Prize for the Tour Participants:

Signed copy of The Devil’s Thief

pavé snake bracelet

character art

signed swag

Runners Up (2)

Character art

signed swag pack

THROW YOUR 🎩 IN THE RING FOR A CHANCE TO WIN HERE

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS 


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SPOILER FREE GUSH REVIEW: THE SIMPLE WILD BY K.A.TUCKER

Title: The Simple Wild

Author: K.A. Tucker

Pub. Date: August 7th. 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Atria Books

Pages: 388

🖤 ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review 🖤

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

Whenever K.A. tucker writes a book I stop whatever I’m doing to read said book & gahhhh! I’m always left with a book hangover but it can’t be helped. I LOVED The Simple Wild & felt the relationships that formed all throughout the very depths of my soul. This is the story of Calla Fletcher who we meet in the process of losing her 9 to 5 office job. She lives at home with her mom and supportive Stepdad Simon while also running a lifestyle blog on the side with her best friend. One day she gets a call from a woman asking her to fly to Alaska to see her dad who is terminally ill. Calla feels so many things at once for the man who stayed behind when she was just 2 years old & her mother decided she wasn’t cut out for Alaskan life. Feelings of abandonment, detachment, and also a need to have her questions answered.  Calla doesn’t know very much about Alaska other than the stories & descriptions her mother has shared, none have been very pleasant. She isn’t prepared for the change in lifestyle or the people who will become like a second family to her while she gets to know her estranged father.

“Life up here may be simple but it’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone. Water runs out; pipes freeze; engines won’t start; it’s dark for eighteen, nineteen hours a day, for months. Even longer in the far north. Up here it’s about having enough food to eat, and enough heat to stay alive through the winter. It’s about survival, and enjoying the company of the people that surround us. It’s not about whose house is the biggest, or who has the nicest clothes, or the most money. We support each other because we’re all in this together.”

We follow Calla as she settles into her dad Wren’s home, they’re strangers sharing a house for the bit of time she is visiting. I loved that Wren wasn’t written to be the type of dad who right off the bat wanted to justify his decision to stay behind while she was raised without him. He’s a quiet man full of regrets but he also understands that Calla flying to Alaska to see him is a big move on her behalf. While navigating the awkwardness around seeing her dad for the very first time, Calla also has to deal with the tall, rugged, unshaven yet handsome, proud Alaskan neighbor. Jonah has been her dad’s right hand man in a small yet profitable charter plane business. He loves everything about life in Alaska and in many ways is a younger version of Wren. Calla is a trendy city girl who has had a moderately easy life back home. Jonah sees Calla as attractive but he also has a ton of reasons (mostly Calla in his opinion being high maintenance) for which he’d never act on anything. This is definitely hate to love & I LIVED for every moment of this romance! 💓

*Content Warning: Death, Cancer, abandonment, grief 

Calla, I feel was dealt a hard hand. Not only does she have to face her dad with all her feelings of abandonement but she’s also uprooted and very far from home in a state that isn’t accommodating to city lovers. She then meets Jonah who although she’s sexually attracted to, finds that he can’t stop giving her a hard time. Calla loves to dress in the latest fashion and trying out new hair/makeup products. I saw nothing wrong with trying to maintain some level of norm while being in a place that demands you shed your past life. I loved that Calla was the complete opposite of her mother, she didn’t allow her mother’s experience to taint her view of Alaska. She’s open minded & willing to put in the work. At her very core, I felt Calla had Alaska running through her blood 🖤

Jonah as rugged as they come, but he’s honestly all bark and no roar 😂 Jonah has a huge heart & he’s very vulnerable when it comes to those he loves. Wren is someone he views as a father figure and just wants to make sure he’s well taken care of. Jonah loves piloting planes and is the very definition of a space cowboy. He isn’t without purpose though, life isn Alaska is all about community & he loves to help out whenever/wherever he can. I was bothered a bit by how hard he got on Calla over her wanting to do her makeup/hair, it just shouldn’t have mattered & I’m glad that ultimately it didn’t. Besides that, it’s safe to say I swooned hard for this guy 💓

Wren aka Calla’s Dad a man of very few words who fell in love with Calla’s mother but knew deep down she’d never be happy living in Alaska. Respectful and regretful all at the same time, Wren knows he could’ve been a better dad. Seeing the subtle way he showed Calla that he was happy to have her there warmed my heart. Ultimately my heart went out to Wren who although it may appear he continued living after Calla’s mom left, really has just been holding onto them both from afar.

Calla’s Mom Perhaps my least favorite of all the characters. I can understand making mistakes in life & doing what’s in your best interest. I get it. When Calla’s mom decided life in Alaska wasn’t for her & she had to get back to life in Toronto, she got to take Calla with her. My biggest issue with Calla’s mom is that she continously harps on how miserable she was during her time there. This happened up until the very last minute of Calla packing to go to Alaska. Then she persistently called Calla in what felt like she was hoping Calla would feel the same way & hate it there too. Lastly, although I know this happens, I am never comfortable with it. Calla is clearly still emotionally attached to Wren & there’s mention of years past where she very much could’ve left Simon her current husband, for Wren. I feel this was emotional cheating 101 & Simon just didn’t deserve it.

Simon aka Stepdad SUPER SUPPORTIVE! is very well aware of the feelings that still linger between his wife & Calla’s dad yet that never changes how good of a stepdad he is to Calla. Simon is a Psychiatrist & listening to Calla comes as second nature. He is by all definition a real dad to her, Simon definitely deserved a better love than Calla’s mom but that’s just my opinion 🤷🏻‍♀️

K.A. Tucker’s characters always manage to linger in my thoughts way past the last page. It’s not just the MC & their love interest, it’s the way she brings in side characters you begin to think of as family. I LOVED all of the characters Calla met in Alaska and often wonder about their lives only to have to remind myself that they are fictional characters. Alaska really did come to life on the page and it just seems like Tucker really did her homework on the way of life all throughout the state. I enjoyed seeing the trips Jonah took on his small aircraft into the more rural parts of Alaska where medical help & supplies are needed. The Simple Wild will transport you into it’s cold atmospheric setting but I guarantee you won’t want to leave once you meet the hard-working & neighborly people who will treat you like family…


Happy Sunday Bookworms! by the time you’re reading this i’ll probably be on my 2nd cup of coffee 🖤 but I’d love any RECOMMENDATIONS for contemporary romance books with atmospheric settings…


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