The Sunshine Blogger Award

It’s 12am & I can’t sleep which means it’s time for a book tag! special thanks to the lovely Sarah over at The Clever Reader for tagging me, if you’re not already following her you probably should cuz she ROCKS! ๐Ÿ’™ย Sarah & I spoke about how the hard part is coming up with questions to ask afterwards so you’ll be seeing my attempts shortly ๐Ÿ˜‚

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator has given you.
  3. Nominate 11 other people and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  4. List the rules and display the award

What is your favorite cover so far this year?

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell, this book is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G in physical & ebook format! the matte velvety finish of the dust jacket combined with the raised shiny emblem of the coiled snake give it the dark & ominous feel. The good news is the story is just as good as the cover ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you enjoy Audiobooks or Physical/eBooks better?

Although I enjoy my audiobooks, nothing beats physical format for me. However, as much as I love physical books it isn’t what I use most. I read a ton and sometimes finish a book in the AM & need a book to come home with on my evening commute. Which is why e-books are my lifeline, also It’s how I consume the majority of my arcs. So if we’re talking enjoyment then I’d say physical over anything ๐Ÿ’œ

What is your 2017 reading goal?

CONFESSION! I MUST CONFESS! ๐Ÿ˜ฉ…I started the year off with a goal of 100 smh haha! I thought, well last year I read 80 so what’s 20 more? yea, that isn’t going to happen but my more humble 50 is within my reach ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

What is your favorite genre of YA?

Hands down FANTASY! It’s the genre I read most of & I wouldn’t change it for the world! It allows me to enter many fantastical worlds where reality is suspended. It also features mostly female heroines so hell yea! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผย This year had been my favorite year reading YA Fantasy because of the inclusion of POC’s & the Own Voices authors debuting their works. So many great 2018 titles to look forward to.

If you could live in a book world which one would it be?

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray, I can totally see myself enjoying life hopping from planet to planet while living aboard a ship. I’d def have a preference, The planet calledย Kismet is described as a water-world with tropical weather & fun loving people/culture. The downside being that only the privileged wealthy can afford to lay up on Kismet but that wouldn’t stop me from trying to sneak in ๐Ÿ˜‚

Whoโ€™s your book boyfriend/girlfriend?

This is a hard one since I don’t really see any of the protagonists in my books as boyfriend material lol. However, for a while there Wallace Warland from Eliza and her Monsters shot straight for my โค๏ธย & then there was a very douchey scene that left me a bit peeved at him haha!

What is your favorite mystical creature?

This little one is my fave as of late & in fact will be my next Funko Pop! So friggin cute & mischievous ๐Ÿ˜

If you could meet any author who would it be?

I won’t go with the standard pick (JK Rowling) this time…Instead I’ll go with a new fave, Angie Thomas for many reasons. Mostly though because I think she’s amazing for writing about the hard topics & exposing a ugly truth that exists and is very relevant to our current times.

What is your anticipated read for the rest of this year?

This most certainly is The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, the sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale! Katherine Arden blew me away with her lush world building & beautiful writing, I needed more! thankfully, I was approved for a eGalley & it legit makes me smile every time I see it in my reader ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

For more bookish photos, give my Bookstagram a follow ๐Ÿ’œ
If you could have any power what would it be and why?

I’ve actually always wanted to have the power to control the weather since discovering Storm on X-Men. Ironically, It’s the one I really wish I had now more than ever given everything our world is experiencing…

What book in the Harry Potter series is your favorite?

Recently I was made aware that Goblet of Fire isn’t as well loved by most…this little bookworm however, LIVES for this book & movie! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผย everything about this installment in the series from start to finish sucks me in. I can be doing a million things at once while I’m home but this scene in the giph will come on & time stops lol. I LOVE when each school makes their dramatic entrance haha!


My Nominees are…

@DarqueDreamerReads, @FlaviatheBibliophile, @DreamyAddictions, @ReadingEveryNight, @TheBookLagoon, @RoamingReader, @BionicBookwormBlog, @KourtniReads, @ByHookorByBook, @HuntressofDiverseBooks, @ZezeeWithBooks


My Questions…
1. Which HP house were you sorted into? and if you could switch out, which other would you choose?
2. Which supporting character would you swap with a main character w/out hesitation?
3. What is your favorite book to movie/tv show adaptation?
4. Name 1 book you’d love to see on the big or small screen
5. If you were to have 1 day of book shopping with either your fave author or fictional character, who would it be?
6. Which 2017 read surprised you the most?
7. What is your TOP favorite 2017 read so far?
8. Name your favorite debut author of 2017
9. Du-ologies or trilogies? do you have a preference?
10. Do you have a favorite long standing series you’re committed to seeing to the end?
11. Which 2018 read are you looking forward to the most?

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& it’s a wrap for the Summer! give me Fall but 1st…

Were you as surprised as I was to see a Wrap-up/Haul go up ON TIME from Lair Of Books? cuz I’m pretty damn surprised & currently patting myself on the back hehe! This has been one of my best reading months in a long time & I think part of the reason is that I participated in #arcAugust ย which really kept me motivated to read whenever/wherever. I’m currently reading They Both Die at the End but i’m not 100% certain I’ll finish it before the 1st so I figured why not wrap-up the month. I honestly feel like I consumed so much in books and TV this month which is rare, it’s usually ย one or the other.

My book haul this month (I think) was a bit humble & i’m so proud of this lol…but this pertains to books I purchased & not the galleys I was approved for. I’m actually going to try something new this wrap-up/haul & include the eGalleys/physical arcs I received from Publishers. I’ve never done this before because well, the topic of arcs is very polarizing in the book community & I respect all sides. That being said, I have had blogging buddies put it out there (nicely) that they would’ve been up for a buddy read of certain arcs. Since we are reading these books in advance, we can’t really discuss them out of consideration for others who are waiting for publication date. This got me thinking, If I don’t make myself available (introvert that I am) by discussing arcs that I’ll be reading in the near future, I’ll continue to miss out on on what can possibly be a fun buddy read. So in conclusion, here goes something new…

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (Revised to โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 4 Stars) *review to go live closer to pub date 10/31/17

The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 4 Stars)ย 

the princess saves herself in this one by amanda lovelace (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 5 Stars) *not sure I have the words to review this one, I related to a ton of the poems & cried a ton more

Spellbook of the Lost and Found (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 4 Stars)ย 

When I am Through With You (Sins & Scandals #1) by Stephanie Kuehn (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 5 Stars)

The Serpent King (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 5 EPIC Stars!) *review to come

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yeeย (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 4 Stars)

*They Both Die at the End by Adam Silveraย (โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…ย 5 , finished on 8/31/17 & a review will go live on release date 9/5/17)

I read a total of 8 books this month of which 6 were arcs for #arcAugust and I’m pretty satisfied with this. I could’ve probably finished a 6th however, the last 48 hours has seen me trying to get over the book hangover Beasts Made of Night left me with. Originally I rated it 5 stars & revised it to 4 strictly because now that I’ve slept on it lol, I can see some pacing issues. My enjoyment however, remains the same. I LOVED this book & can’t wait to share my review in October! typically I don’t read my books this early however it was a eGalley from the First to Read program & the title was set to expire from all devices on 9/1 so yea *shrugs shoulders* what can ya do? lol. I listened to The Serpent King on Audible & gahhhH! loved it to pieces even as I collected the pieces of my shattered heart. Overall a quality reading month ๐Ÿ™‚

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The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones (Owlcrate)

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (Book of the Month pick)

The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee (Thousandth Floor series #2)

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (add on for BOTM)

Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1) by Sarah Tolcser

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Ravenclaw edition)


Physical ARCS

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Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (received from the publisher)

Night of Cake & Puppets by Laine Taylorย (received from the publisher)

Berserker (Berserker #1) by Emmy Laybourne (Goodreads Giveaway win)

Artemis by Andy Weir (Goodreads Giveaway win in the mail)

ย eGalleys

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

Heart Of Iron by Ashley Poston

Everless (Untitled #1) by Sara Holland

Frankie by Shivaun Plozza

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

The Girl in the Tower (The Bear in the Nightingale #2) by Katherine Arden

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

The Dangerous Art of Blending in by Angelo Surmelis

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Meet Cute: Some People are Destined to Meet (variety of contemporary authors)

So yea…I just realized how long this post will be but it’s past midnight & i’m falling asleep…sorry lol. Every month I end this with what I watched this month but I’ve decided to write a separate post for that later this week. August seemed to be the month for approvals, usually they’re scattered throughout but this is the most in 1 month I’ve seen in a while. Thankfully most of these are 2018 titles giving me time to get them read. Even though #arcAugust is over I will still be reading arcs throughout September lest I be crushed by my tbr ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy reading in September Bookworms!!! Hope you’ve all had a wonderful August month & are enjoying your end of summer reads. If you participated in #arcAugust, how did you fare? what are you currently reading/watching? drop your comments down below <3โ€™s!


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Arc August Review: The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember

The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember

Published by: Harmony Ink Press

Date of Publication:ย August 22nd 2017

Genres: YA Fantasy/LGBTQIA+

Pages:ย 173

Format: eGalley

ย ย ย 

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regimentโ€™s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xianโ€™s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commanderโ€”a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything theyโ€™ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy theyโ€™re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xianโ€™s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitorโ€™s bond to their animal is for lifeโ€”if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

The Tiger’s Watch is a diverse YA Fantasy centered around Tashi our gender fluid main character. Tashi is a inhabitor which by definition means you are bonded with an animal. This also means your life lines are linked & so when one dies, the other does too. Tashi is bonded to a golden tiger named Katala who if need be they can inhabit. As a soldier trained to be a spy, Tashi and their tiger are a team with Katala doing the killing. Tashi and her best friend Pharro who is also a inhabitor, are both sent away to hide in a monastery when their capital is brought down by an invading army. In this monastery, they are instructed to lay low and not call on their animals as it would call attention to their inhabitor identities. They are considered valuable in the inevitable war to come and so the monks try to keep them hidden. In the process of doing so, they only managed to call attention to Tashi & the invading armies’ commander Xian’s interest was instantly piqued. Xian makes Tashi his assistant of sorts providing Tashi the opportunity to spy on the enemy. The problem begins when there’s a spark of chemistry between Tashi & Xian that makes them question everything & ultimately leads them to make questionable decisions…

Tashi-ย Our Gender fluid MC takes some getting used to, I’m sure many will be annoyed with just how weak they are presented but it’s part of their story. Tashi was paired with the fiercest of animals at the age of 8, a hunter & killer who gets a thrill out of the chase. Tashi however, is the complete opposite and the very thought of killing literally upsets their stomach. I am hoping the sequel sees Tashi finding their strength & also recognizing how some of their decisions have hurt others. In this book we see Tashi make impulse decisions in hopes of changing a system they believe to be cruel. However, a ton of it came across as not well thought out & selfish. This character has a ton of growing pains ahead of them & I hope it’s evident in the next book.

Katala- Tashi’s golden tiger was one of my favorite characters in the entire book! I LOVED Katala! she is fierce, loyal, protective, and will NOT hesitate to get the job done even when Tashi is uncertain. As gruesome as some scenes would appear to be if you have a vivid imagination lol, I also found humor whenever Katala proudly killed an enemy soldier. Katala couldn’t contain her excitement at her achievements & as such would tap into her link with Tashi to show them the catch of the day, meanwhile Tashi doesn’t have the stomach for their Tiger’s appetite.

Pharro-Best friend to Tashi & at times the lines could get a bit blurred which means that yes a love triangle forms by the end of this story…sort of lol. Tashi has real feelings for Pharro, another inhabitor linked to an old wolf. Their relationship is complicated because Pharro knows that unlike Tashi who is bonded with a tiger with a long life span, he is bonded with a old wolf in his last days.

Xian-Commander of the invading army, at first comes off as ruthless and sadistic. He knows he can’t look weak in front of his army but he also has started to grow feelings for Tashi. I had some issues with this character who gave Tashi a sense of being owned, as if they were his possession. Tashi has formed a strange attraction to Xian and this leads to a ton of confusion on Tashi’s behalf. Xian is my least liked character, I just don’t trust him no matter what Tashi sees in him *shrugs*ย 

When I first heard of The Tiger’s Watch featuring a gender fluid MC, I was a bit worried about whether it would deliver good representation but also excited. I then saw the author’s name & instantly recognized her from Twitter. No, I haven’t read anything from Julia Ember til’ now but that’s about to change. Tashi is a much needed addition to the Young Adult books we have on our shelves. The world Tashi lives in, their society is much more advanced than our own real life world. Tashi being gender fluid wasn’t completely out of the ordinary in their world & whenever someone called Tashi “he” or “she” whoever knew Tashi would immediately correct the person by letting them know the correct pronoun is “they”. I absolutely LOVED the story & bond our MC shares with their tiger Katala. It was made up of mutual respect & trust at it’s core with Katala expressing her independence. Their bond was never a master/owner type relationship which I appreciated. I did however wish to see expansion in world building & growth from Tashi. With this eGalley, the author also sent a excerpt to the next book which is already promising. So I guess you can say my chief complaint is that I’d like to see more haha! but The Tiger’s Watch is definitely a must read for my diverse book blogging friends ๐Ÿ˜‰

*HUGE thanks to Julia Ember for providing me with a eGalley copy of The Tiger’s Watch in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Readers! yesterday was The Tiger’s Watch Book Birthday & I was so happy to see so many fellow book bloggers post their reviews <3! Please drop those links down below & I’ll swing by for a chat ๐Ÿ™‚ & if you haven’t picked this one up yet, please do & then tell me how much you love Katala! haha!


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#ARCSTRAVAGANZA #3: Warcross by Marie Lu

#ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme hosted by Krysti atย YA and Wineย and Sarah atย The Clever Readerย to give book bloggers/bookstagrammers a chance to show off those ARCs/eARCs/Galleys! Comment on their weekly posts with aย link to your own #ARCstravaganza blog post, or post a pic on Instagram using the #ARCstravaganza hashtag, and you will be entered to win an ARC copy of an upcoming YA novel! One winner will be chosen at random each month!

Hello Readers! This is my 3rd week participating in #ARCstravaganza Monday & Iโ€™ve chosen a highly anticipated ARC that I’m really looking forward to get into and also very grateful to even own. This will be my very 1st read by Marie Lu even though I have The Young Elites sitting on my shelf (tbr Nov/Dec).ย I’ve heard many sing her praises and meeting her in person at Bookcon & seeing how sweet and just down to earth awesome she is really shed light on her fandom. Whelp, I’d like to join in the Marie Lu โค & I’m pretty sure this is a safe bet given all of the positive feedback that has already started streaming in over the interwebz ๐Ÿ™‚


Warcross by Marie Lu

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Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Luย 

Published by: ย  for Young Readers

Date of Publication:ย September 12th 2017

Genres: YA/Sc-Fi

Pages:ย 416

 

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Luโ€”when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isnโ€™t just a gameโ€”itโ€™s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championshipsโ€”only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced sheโ€™s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the gameโ€™s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this yearโ€™s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emikaโ€™s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that sheโ€™s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

What are some ARCS/eGalleys youโ€™re excited to have Bookworms? If youโ€™ve participated in #ARCstravaganza this week, please feel free to drop your links & Iโ€™ll make my way aroundย ๐Ÿ˜‰


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WWW Wednesday

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 Wโ€™s listed below. Once youโ€™ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Samโ€™s comments <3โ€™s!

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

I am currently at the 50% mark in The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. Kingย & enjoying Kalinda’s strong character. However, I will say that this one reads more like an adult Fantasy than YA. Which to me makes sense given the nature of this story. You have a tyrant who is in search of his 100th wife; a tyrant who also keeps courtesans. Then we have Kalinda who doesn’t really fit the mold of the women the Tyrant has “claimed” but somehow manages to be chosen as the 100th Rani aka wife which puts her in a high position = only to that of his 1st wife. With a target on her back, Kalinda has to fight for her thrown as per tradition, one that she never wanted in the 1st place. My main interest is Kalinda & her forbidden power as well as the others like her outside the palace walls that share her powers. We shall see how I feel about this one soon…

I recently finished reading Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappiaย & I can’t stop thinking about it! so good! I thought it would be a cute story to read in prep for the Summer days but it turned out to be so much more than that. I was lucky to be approved for an eGalley but when I saw it arrive in my Owlcrate box this month I couldn’t stop hugging it lol. Full review to post tomorrow Thursday. Before that I read New Boy by Tracy Chevalier (review here) which is part of the Shakespeare Hogarth collection. New boy was short but powerful. A inside look to the effects of racism passed down to children. The setting is a playground in a all white school during the 70’s Nixon administration. This book rattled me & left me deep in thought.

Gahhhhh! 2 reads I am so excited to get to & thankful to have been approved for. Saints and Misfits is one that I was highly anticipating ever since I laid eyes on the cover & S.K. Ali is just an overall sweetheart who is very interactive & reachable to her readers (LOVE THAT!). I recently receivedย a Owlcrate box that had a promo card for Song Of The Current (Song Of The Current #1) which led me straight to Goodreads. I love my fantasy, it’s what I read & review most on LairOfBooks so it came as no surprise that a river God, pirates, and magic would call my name. Really looking forward to these two ๐Ÿ˜‰

What are you all 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!

1 Year Q&A: Answers Part 2

In celebration of my 1 year blogoversary, I asked readers & fellow bloggers to take part in my Q&A. The turnout left my heart smiling but it also left me having to split my answers post into 2 parts (part I here). This is the 2nd round of answers, I had a ton of fun answering these & hope you enjoy the read…

Kim @ByHookOrByBook

 Q: What fictional character most resembles you?

A: I’ve been called Hermione Granger too many times

Q: Is there a setting in a book/series that left you longing to live there?

A: Ok I won’t say Hogwarts cuz that’s just obvious lol so I’ll go with The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I’d love to be wherever Le Cirque des Rรชves arrives & wear my red scarf every night ๐Ÿ˜‰

Q: If you were shipwrecked on an island and could only have one book, which would it be?

A: Another blogger asked If I only had one book to re-read, what would it be? I’d still say that in my shipwrecked situation that I’d find pleasure in Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire. Even if the Triwizard tournament would probably set my nerves on a frenzy being stuck on said island haha!


Raven @DreamyAddictions

Q: If you were given a chance to live in a book for a day which book would you choose? 

A: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray…The world building in that book! I’m not even sure if I could choose just one world to live in from this book, they’re all interesting.

Q:Who inspires you the most? 

A: My 2 tiny humans, they remind me to stay young & fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

Q: Name three of your top favorite fantasy books?

A: Gah! just 3?!?! Ok here goes…Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, & of course Harry Friggin Potter! haha!


Stephanie @TeacherOfYa 

Q: what author are you most excited to meet? 

A: I believe Stephanie asked this question as it pertained to Bookcon lol, & this would hands down be Adam Silvera & he asked me on Twitter if I was going & I said yes so *fingers crossed*

Q: whatโ€™s the best book youโ€™ve read this year so far?

A: OhMYGosh! so hard with so many great ones but it would have to be The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Shanah @Bionic Book Worm

 Q: if you could have one fictional character as a best friend, who would it be and why?

A: Molly Peskin-Suso from The Upside of Unrequited because I could relate to her experience as it was similar to mine in High School. I can totally see myself on Pinterest boards with her & working on DIY projects in her kitchen lol.


Analee @ Book Snacks

 Q: If you could meet one fictional character who would it be?

A: Nina Zenik from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo in hopes she brings waffles <3!

Q: Favourite underrated book?

A: A Million Junes by Emily Henry

Q: Favourite/least favourite part of blogging?

A: this is more about me…when I am backlogged in comments it can be tough getting up to date. A 3 day break can lead to spending a whole day catching up which means no blog hopping that day *sobs*


Reads & Reels 

Q: Are you happy with the direction your blog has taken or did you expect a certain outcome at the 1-year mark?

A: Yes I am happy with where I’m at. I’ve pretty much got a handle on what I like/dislike to read & that was big for me. My blog is big on reviews but i’m pushing myself to include discussion posts & more of my other loves like movies & TV shows…further down the road maybe venture into creating my own meme ๐Ÿ˜‰


Lia @LostInAStory

 Q: Which character would you bring to life, even if that meant they had to leave their fictional world and would have to stay in ours forever?

A: Dobby (Harry Potter)…that death scene broke me & yea I’d bring him back in a heartbeat!


Darnell 

Q: Which book was on your TBR the longest? Which book made you rage DNF?

A: Currently still on my TBR & on my shelf unread is Brandon Sanderson’s The Way Of Kings..It’s HUGE! intimidates the heck outta me lol. I don’t really DNF (2 to date) but Roseblood by A.G. Howard really pissed me off with all it’s external beauty it was the biggest let down.


Sam @SpinesInALine

 Q: What was your favourite cover, released or not?

A: Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer *sigh* that beauty that is that book! *heart eyes*


Kee the Reader

 Q: Do you have a favourite book dragon?

A: Kee, I’m going to admit I don’t know what a Book Dragon is *hides* please help! LOL


Rachel @Life of a Female Bibliophile, Megan @BookBirds, Larkin @WonderFilledReads

 Q: What diverse/or just general books would you recommend to read that are often underrated or that havenโ€™t been featured too much in the blogging community

A: American Street by Ibi Zoboi, You’re Welcome Universe, by Whitney Gardner, and When the Moon Was Ours by Anna Marie McLemore


Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku

Q: What are your favorite pizza toppings?

A: philly cheese steak pizza is dabomb.com! so everything that comes with it haha!

Q: What is the last book your DNFโ€™d?

A: Roseblood by A.G Howard *sigh* BIG let down…

Q: What is your favorite piece of book swag?

A: Generally speaking I’m a sucker for all of the bookish themed candles but if we’re talking about one that I own…my red Caraval tote bag <3!

Q: What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

A: The readers I’ve met along the way. Those who love to read & or blog have given me a a home away from home. My hubby is a reader & for a long time he was the only person I could talk to about books. Now, there are so many of you out there in same/different time zones always up for a good book chat…it’s the best!

Q: If you had one completely useless superpower, what would it be?

A: The ability to have my home cleaned w/out moving a muscle…dream come true!


Amanda @Cover2CoverMom

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: This is going to sound super boring but honestly isn’t surprising lol…a English teacher. I thought it was super cool that there was a job where one could read books & talk about them in class. Then I grew up & realized you don’t have to be a teacher to do this! lol it would totally be editor now ๐Ÿ˜‰

Q: Worst dating experience?

A: BAHHHA! I once went out on a date with a guy to dinner & a movie…the following day he called me…scratch that…his wife called me while his 2 kids ran around in the background -_- & THAT was the end of THAT smh. I changed up my screening process after that & started becoming quite the detective before accepting a full on date lol.

Q: List your phobiasโ€ฆ

A: EASY. SPIDERS. THE END! *sobs*

Q: If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?

A: something edgy, so tired of my name being considered old timey lol. I dunno, possibly Blake, Rain, Ruby, or River…suck at this but anything that doesn’t scream OLD. Probably why I go by Lilly at all times ๐Ÿ˜‰

Q: How did you come up with your blog name?

A: Hubby & I always joked about heading back to our Lair after watching a Supernatural episode. The one where Dean & Sam discover the Men of Letters Lair & that became our thing. Then we added book shelves & I started getting more involved with blogging, pretty soon it was LairofBooks ๐Ÿ™‚

Q: List the book bloggers that are #goals for you (and you can’t say Cait @PaperFury lol)

A: Bookidote, SheLatitude, and TalesoftheRavenousReader there are many more but these are the 3 that came to mind right away.


KrystiYAandWine

Q: So my question would be, after one full year of doing this, do you have any advice on balancing blogging/SM/and actually READING the books?

A: I’m actually still trying to find what works best for me & honestly I think this is something that you will always stay switching up because LIFE. I have recently moved & it deeply affected my blogging time for a bit until I found what works now. For reading in particular, I do feel that reading whenever possible has helped keep me stay on top of my ARCS. Even if its 15 minutes or just 1 chapter…it’s progress. In regards to blogging, I’ve gotten into the habit of scheduling posts which frees me up to blog hop. My Social media, I bookstagram more than I tweet but that’s something I’m also working on getting better at. TBH, interacting within the blogging community via blog hopping has worked out best for me. A lot of times I will catch up on my backlog of comments & visit each of those bloggers while at it. Still working on it though but if you find the secret 1st, please share! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thank you to all those who submitted questions & just stuck around following my blog & showing love. I appreciate each & every one of you! โค โค โค

Review: The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

Theย Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

Publisher:ย Touchstone

Publication Date: May 16th, 2017

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Pages: 359 pages

Format:ย eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 Stars)

*Trigger Warning: Rape

Cover = Goodreads

What is the difference between justice and revenge? In this buzzworthy new standalone thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger, two wronged women on very different paths find themselves in the same dark placeโ€ฆ

Claudia Bishopโ€™s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old houseโ€”one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific home invasion murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the pastโ€”and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision courseโ€”because Zoeyโ€™s past nightmare and Claudiaโ€™s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.

The majority of this year has been dedicated to my YA titles but a change of pace was needed. Typically I turn to the thriller/Suspense genre whenever I’m in need of a good palette cleanser. Sometime last year I read Lisa Unger’s Ink and Bone & was hooked from page 1 to the very last. When I started seeing The Red Hunter’s beautiful splash of red all over my Bookstagram feed, I sent a little prayer to the Book Gods & went to see if Netgalley was offering it for review & the rest is history lol. I read the majority of this book in 1 day (60%), Lisa Unger once again delivered a immersive page turner. We get introduced to these two women who have been through traumatic experiences & somehow the reader knows their paths are fated to cross in some way.

Claudia is a rape survivor & we get to see her aftermath, she has a teenage daughter who may or may not be from her attacker. Her life has been turned upside down but she has chosen to re-build away from all of that by moving away from the city. I really enjoyed Claudia’s character, she has battle scars & yet she perseveres to find her peace. She has this love for places that have that lived in feel & so picking up and going to the country side to try & renovate her dads old house fit her personality so well. The parts where we see her blogging (some entries from her blog included) about her trauma & the home renovation were some of my fave parts. It did seem at times like she couldn’t catch a break with some of the decisions she made lol but that just added to her charm. We also get to follow her Daughter Raven’s POV. Raven knows all about her mom’s rape since they’ve chosen to be very honest, we get to see her search for more answers.

Zoey survived the murder of her parents when she was just a kid. Through a home invasion, both of her parents are tied up & asked to divulge the location of 1 million dollars (lots of backstory here but spoilers lol).ย Her parents are ultimately killed and Zoey herself is hurt & tortured. Fast Forward to the present & now we have someone who is searching for justice. She has taken up martial arts classes & excelled in training. You get the feeling that Zoey is traveling with a “dark passenger” (for fans of Dexter lol).ย Although she has re-built her life with the help of her uncle Paul (retired detective), she hasn’t been able to put her demons to rest. I LOVE morally ambiguous characters & I got that with Zoey who has taken so many hits that I found myself rooting for her to strike back!

The cast of characters in Red Hunter is bigger than these two leading ladies. We get to meet a lot of the people who have formed their support system as well. From Claudia, we have her daughter Raven & her ex husband. Zoey who comes from a cop family, has her uncle Paul, her martial arts teacher who is also a retired cop, and other cops as well who are still in her life. Unger manages to keep all players on the chess board while she weaves their story lines together. Once again she’s left me with fictional characters I love & will always remember.

The Red Hunterย is up there for top faves of 2017 & cements my love for Lisa Unger. She is now an auto-buy author for me & I will be keeping an eye out for anything & everything she puts out. I don’t want to get into the plot too much because that would lead to spoilers & take away the fun. The Goodreads blurb does a good job of summing it up w/out ruining anything. There’s so much story in these 359 pages & seeing her skills with weaving the lives in this story together leaves you in awe…FLAWLESS! Perhaps what I love the most about her writing style is her ability to deliver characters I can’t help getting invested in. I genuinely end up caring about where their roads lead which leads to my want for a series from this author *silent prayer to the book Gods*ย Lastly, the mark of every Unger book would have to be her settings. This time the story took place mostly in the country in that house Claudia is renovating. Yet just like the Hollows in Ink and Bone, you can’t help but see the house as its own character. It has a soul & holds a dark & violent past making for a very atmospheric read. I hands down highly recommend The Red Hunterย to all readers & please can we get more Lisa ๐Ÿ˜‰

*Thank you Touchstone, Netgalley, and Lisa Unger for the opportunity to read a eGalley copy of The Red Hunter in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Have any of you awesome bookworms read or plan to read The Red Hunter? if you have, which character was your favorite?

Review: Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog (Spoiler Free)

unnatural-deeds-by-cyna-balogUnnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire

Date of Publication: November 1st 2016

Genres: YA Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 288

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 Stars)

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Secrets. Obsession. Murder. Victoria is about to discover just how dangerous it can be to lose yourself.

Victoria Zell doesnโ€™t fit in, but sheโ€™s okay with that. All she needs is the company of her equally oddball boyfriend, Andrew. She doesnโ€™t care what anyone else thinksโ€ฆuntil magnetic, charming, mysterious Z comes into her life, and she starts lying to everyone she knows in an effort to unravel his secrets.

And then something terrible happens. Someone is dead and itโ€™s time for Victoria to come clean. Interspersed with news clippings and police interviews, Victoria tells her story to Andrew, revealing her dark, horrible secretsโ€ฆsecrets that have finally come back to haunt her.

Iโ€™d like to thank Sourcebooks Fire for approving me to receive an eGalley of Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Unnatural Deeds is a YA Mystery Thriller and as expected was very plot driven with some occasional glimpses into the characters past lives. Since this book is a mystery, i’ll keep this review short for a change ๐Ÿ˜‰ We meet Victoria at the beginning of the school year & she’s pretty much the new kid in the school until Z shows up. Z is a transfer student who just like this book, enjoys being one giant enigma, in fact he thrives on it. The polar opposite to Victoria who takes medication for her anxiety and doesn’t speak to any of the students in the school. The daughter of a religious family, Victoria’s only friend is her neighbor Andrew (same age as her) who suffers from Agoraphobia & has been homeschooled & sheltered. Andrew also happens to be Victoria’s boyfriend and they see each other mostly at each others homes or at their favorite spot by the fence that separates their homes. Up until the arrival of Z in Victoria’s school, Andrew was her life and she enjoyed coming home and re-counting her day at school to him & listening to him talk about his life at home. Andrew’s mother had re-married & his step-dad was physically abusive and not understanding at all of his anxiety disorder. This all changed the minute that Z noticed Victoria & chose to give her the attention that all of the popular girls in the school wanted from him. Z was charming & charismatic, the definition of a bad boy and the minute he set his sights on Victoria they both fell through the rabbit hole. Z brings out a side of Victoria she never knew she had & it was thrilling to her.

Writing/Thoughts:

This being a Thriller/Murder Mystery, I enjoyed the format Balog used where she started each chapter with the transcript of the police investigation…yes, someone is killed but I won’t say who HAHA! students and teachers are interviewed by the police & it is during these brief chapter openers that we are given a piece of the puzzle. What you think you know or have figured out is probably wrong…that’s all i’ll say about that for fear of you guessed it…spoilers! LOL. I’ve seen a ton of mixed reviews for this book because of the way Victoria worshipped Z but given her background & the fact that she suffers from anxiety, I was able to give her character some understanding. This wasn’t at all what I was expecting in reading my 1st YA thriller & that’s a very good thing, makes me want to check some more out. I don’t want to reveal more than this because this book is just one that you want to go into not knowing anything, I would definitely recommend Unnatural Deeds if you’re looking for your next YA Murder Mystery *wicked grin*

September Wrap-up & Book Haul

September…a month that I am usually looking forward to every year by the time the sweltering 90 degree weather in June make it’s presence felt. This year however, I was a bit apprehensive about all of the changes taking place with my little one starting in a “real” school lol. After completing pre-k in the same center as her daycare, this would be her 1st venture into an actual school building. Thankfully all went well & we just received news that she is actually at a 1st grade level. Could not be any more happier honestly. My reading month however, wasn’t the best but I managed to get 5 in & a very special book event (check out my About Last Night post here). October will be MUCH better ๐Ÿ˜‰

september-wrap-up

I’ve linked my reviews for each of my reads down below

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cรณrdova โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 stars)

Empire of Storms by Sara J. Maas โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (3.5 stars @ the time of review but…lol)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 stars)

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 stars)

Wrecked by Maria Padian โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (4 stars)

After having a pretty slow book buying month in August (view August Book Haul here)…well slower than my usual LOL, I thought September would be mayhem but I think I kept it reasonable HAHA!…

september-book-haul

Follow me on Instagram @Lair_Of_Books for more photos ๐Ÿ˜‰

the-casquette-girls

Kindle Deal $1.99 (no longer available however if you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s currently free)

I’ve read 2 of the books I hauled in September & i’m seriously avoiding Crooked Kingdom smh, I’m just not ready Gals & Ghouls *hides face* to let go of my favorite fictional characters or this deliciously dark world *sigh* avoiding book spoilers on Twitter has become quite the challenge. I’m not sure what i’ll read after my current eGalley (When The Moon Was Ours), i’ve managed to get my Netgalley ratio at a respectable percentage that i’m content with. It may not be perfect but it’ll do ๐Ÿ˜‰

As for my viewing, cuz ya girl really does love TV & movies! it was actually really meh LOL. I didn’t catch any movies in the theatre BUT I did binge watch season 2 of Gotham with the hubby. truthfully speaking, I wasn’t a big fan of the first season but it’s so atmospheric & they did an AMAZING job of giving it authentic classic Gotham feels that we stuck with it. I enjoyed season 2 WAY more because we get a different side of Gordon, he’s been through a lot that I won’t list because of spoilers but he’s pretty bad a** now. The performance I enjoyed the most however, goes to Cory Michael Smith who plays Edward Nygma aka future Riddler. Season 2 focused on Nygma’s development into who he will ultimately become. I can’t get enough of this guy’s shenaningans but in all seriousness he truly kills it on this show *tips hat off*

nygma

Photo on IMDB

Fun fact: a lot of the outdoor filming in Gotham was done around my neighborhood. Some around the corner from my block & other shots were filmed by the train station near my place. We often joke our neighborhood might as well be Gotham since it’s so Gray smh. Whelp I guess word got out to FOX & Gotham has come to us. My husband took photos of the vehicles parked overnight for the shoot. There’s a pretty big old abandoned building that looks like an old bank but served as a Boys & Girls club many years ago, that was also used in one of their episodes where a banquet/party was filmed. I couldn’t get photos of that w/out trespassing though LOL.

 

Hope you all had an AMAZING September! We are now in October & i’m sure a lot of us are looking forward to all of the exciting book releases this month. What are some October books you all are looking forward to?

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (non-spoiler)

leigh-bardugo-six-of-crows-new-book-01

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Series: Six of Crows #1

Published by: Henry Holt and Company

Publication Date: September 6th 2016

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 465 pages

Format: Hardcover (I own)

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

 

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right priceโ€”and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destructionโ€”if they don’t kill each other first.

 

Plot

Six of Crows takes place in the same world as Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, 2 years after the Ravkan Civil War. The Six of Crows series however, was written so that readers who haven’t read The Grisha trilogy can still enjoy. There are references to characters from The Grisha trilogy purposely name dropped however, the characters in Six of Crows themselves do not have an accurate account of the events that followed the Ravkan Civil War. In other words, you won’t be missing out on any crucial bits of information. Leigh Bardugo has been interviewed & has answered questions on Goodreads where she tells readers that clarification will later be provided so there’s that. We get introduced to Kaz Brekker who is the leader of the Dreggs. The Dreggs are a rag tag team of criminals from all walks of life who Kaz has recruited to run heists on the wealthy. Just like in the movies (Oceans Eleven comes to mind lol) where THE BIG heist presents itself, Kaz is offered 30 million Krug to take back a scientist that is being held captive by the government. The scientist is their most prized asset because he has come up with a way to enhance a common drug. The drug, when ingested by Grisha can enhance their magical abilities to unimaginable heights making them unstoppable. Oh the damage one can do with just 1 Grisha on this drug *hides* There are many different types of Grisha & thanks to Google I will list them for you:

Corporalki

  • Healers
  • Heartrenders
  • Tailors

Etherealki

  • Inferni
  • Squallers
  • Tidemakers
  • Summoners

Materialki

  • Durasts
  • Alkemi

Characters

Photo Credit: Lauren’s Tumblr Page

This is by far my most FAVORITE Cast of characters in a Fictional Fantasy world PERIOD! Not only did Leigh Bardugo give us some of the most beloved characters, but she made a whole lot of people fall in love with their imperfections & complexities. None of her characters are perfect but it’s their flaws that make you fall in love with each & every one of them. We have Kaz Brekker aka Dirty Hands, leader & head schemer HAHA! Inej AKA The Wraith or The Spider, a female POC known for her stealthy abilities. Even with bells on you will NOT hear Inez creeping up on you & she holds many of Kaz’s secrets close to heart. Jesper sharpshooter extraordinaire & Kaz’s Second, walks around with 2 pearl handled guns that he is more than happy to pull out & show off lol. Nina the Heartrender, she’s a Grisha who has the ability to alter or stop your heart. She’s also a semi trained Tailor which means she can alter physical features on a person (she’s not very good at this lol). We also have Matthias & Wylan but i’ll leave these characters roles out of the description cuz spoilers ๐Ÿ˜‰ I found myself rooting for these characters, getting mad at some of them, and other times very protective over them. Thanks again Gretchen @Chicnerdreads for pointing me in the right direction for the perfect Fan cast art ๐Ÿ˜‰

โ€œKaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.โ€ 
โ€• Leigh BardugoSix of Crows

Writing

Leigh Bardugo aka My Queen Of Darkness has a way of infusing her sense of humor in her writing & since she is one funny lady, I often found myself chuckling at the dialogue between characters. The story is fast paced but it’s appropriate for a heist that typically you would see playing out on the big screen. The fact that she managed such a feat is impressive enough but that she did so by managing 6 different characters without skipping a beat is utterly INSANE & proof that she is QUEEN! The characters she created are so fleshed out that they practically leap off the pages which I LOVE! I can’t get enough of Six Of Crows & can’t wait to start Crooked Kingdom.

Thoughts

I have fallen in love with the world Leigh Bardugo has created & hope that she has more for us reader fans. She did say at the Strand NYC event this past Monday, that there are plenty more stories to tell in this world but that she couldn’t say anything was for certain (Leigh Bardugo event post here). It’s pretty clear to me that Leigh Bardugo really got to know her characters well & brought them to life on the page. I haven’t had this much fun reading a book in a long time. The story gave me Ocean’s Eleven & Boardwalk Empire feels but in the end nothing compares to Six of Crows ๐Ÿ˜‰