GIVEAWAY: JANUARY OWLCRATE

These past 48 hours have been very nerve wracking for many U.S. citizens. My anxiety has been through the roof, so when I received book mail Friday…it helped in distracting me for just a bit. I knew I wanted to host my 1st giveaway this year, I just didn’t think it would be this soon lol. The spirit of giving hit me though, and so I shall go with it. I hope this box finds its way to a wonderful bookworm who might also need a bit of a distraction. I meant to  post this box earlier in the day but btwn my 2 tiny humans & being absorbed watching the Women’s March I have truly lost track of time. Running this giveaway is giving me a little happy back & for that I am grateful. The rules for this giveaway will be listed at the bottom of this post. This giveaway will be open to my INTERNATIONAL bookworms as well, inspired by the outpouring support I’ve seen this morning from women all over the world. I have also been actively seeking out Diverse Books and this will play a part in this giveaway πŸ˜‰

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Click on photo if you’d like to follow my journey with books on IG ❀

goodreads-synopsis-2In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thornβ€”an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

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πŸ₯€Roseblood by A.G. Howard (hardcover)

πŸ₯€1 mint tea packet by @firsteditiontea πŸ₯€1 Secret Garden inspired book-shaped soap (smells SO good!)

πŸ₯€1 Slaughterhouse Five inspired watercolor #bookmark

πŸ₯€1 children’s classics inspired calendar by @obviousstate

πŸ₯€1 Phantom Of The Opera fridge magnet

πŸ₯€ 1 Owlcrate Theatre pin

πŸ₯€1 Wires and Nerve by Marisa Meyer mini poster

 

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πŸ₯€ This giveaway will be open to my INTERNATIONAL bookish peeps as well, you just have to have a valid mailing & email address that you are willing to share with me

πŸ₯€ Follow my blog of course  (i’ll be checking loves)

πŸ₯€ Must be 18 years or older

πŸ₯€ Comment on this post with your most anticipated book for 2017, if this book happens to be a Diverse Book, you will get 1 extra entry πŸ˜‰

πŸ₯€ This giveaway will run starting today 1/21/17 til next Sunday 1/28/2017

Good luck to all those who decide to throw their hat in the ring. I have my lucky mason jar ready and can’t wait to see all of your recommendations. My excited face is on at the moment hehe πŸ™‚

Review: Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano

lost-girlsLost Girls by Merrie Destefano

Published by: Entangled

Date of Publication: January 3rd 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery

Pages: 360

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating:β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… 5 Stars

 

Goodreads:

Fight Club meets Black Swanβ€”Rachel wakes up in a ditch to find she doesn’t remember the last year of her life, and that everythingβ€”including herselfβ€”is vastly different than she remembers.

Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grammy’s quilt, worrying about geometry. Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life.

She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: she’s popular. She wears nothing but black.

Black to cover the blood.

And she can fight.

Tell no one.

She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.

But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad, sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still cravesβ€”the rush of the fight, the thrill of the winβ€”something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed…

The only rule is: There are no rules.

*I’d like to thank Entangled Teen for approving me to receive an eGalley of Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The 1st sentence in the synopsis for this book immediately had me clicking Request This Book over at Netgalley because my mind sees Black Swan & Fight Club as the ultimate mashup & i’m all for it.

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I can happily confirm that the description doesn’t lie & if you’re looking for your next adrenaline infused read then Lost Girls is the book for you! The book opens up with Rachel in a ditch in the middle of no where with no recollection of how she got there. Rachel makes her way on to an open road and is able to flag down some help & call her parents. It turns out that she’s been missing for the past 2 weeks however, her last clear memory is of being in her room studying for a class she took 1 year ago. See, Rachel has lost all recollection of the past year and can’t provide any insight as to what led to her disappearance. Once she is back home and begins to settle in, she sees that her room looks completely different than it did 1 year ago. Everything went from light colors to black. Digging around in her closet she finds a box with articles of clothing and items that indicate she was quite possibly living a double life–one that isn’t so much Girl Next Door but more Good Girl Gone Bad. In school she realizes she is now popular, a part of the cool kids, and dating the hottest guy in the school. Yet last she can recall, her best friends name is Molly & they enjoy dressing up in Lord Of The Rings Cosplay. Everything had changed in Rachel’s life and she was intent on getting answers. She went along with her new friends and quickly realized they knew more than they were letting on. She finds it easy to establish herself as the leader of their crew of friends, something that she is almost positive would NOT have been the norm 1 year ago. Rachel is the Alpha whether she has her memories or not, she also has a new found love for danger & fighting but no clue as to how long those feelings have lived with her. Rachel returns to ballet practice to try & bring some normalcy back into her life, not realizing that this too is a clue to her missing year of memory. Little by Little she begins to piece together the mystery of her disappearance & her personality change, in doing so she finds that she was involved in a very dangerous lifestyle…

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Rachel is our protagonist and she is not your typical run of the mill YA protog in the sense that I wasn’t able to fit her into any of the YA roles. She is not a hero, anti-hero, or what some would call a “good character”. Rachel is flawed in a lot of ways & this made her all the more relatable. I understood that she had made a ton of mistakes and that she has this calling towards fighting. She struggles reconciling the person she was a year ago with the person she changed into. Was it really a gradual change? or was it something embedded in her personality all along? is this just her nature? I loved this character so much because she understood that there is no good or bad but there’s plenty of gray. Seeing how she handled her returning memories was also interesting and played into her need for control. She internalizes a ton and that brings me to another character I loved who plays a major role in building her trust, her dad. Rachel’s dad was formerly a Navy Seal and is the more quiet and observant type of parent, her mom is a nurse who handles crisis in the hospital well but not so well when it comes to her kids (I can totally relate lol). It was her dad who kept a close eye on her even when she wasn’t aware he was doing so. One of my favorite scenes in this book is between Rachel & her Dad…a few tears were shed *no shame*

There’s also the crew of Girls & Guys that run with Rachel (don’t want to giveaway too much) that each add personality to the group. Loved the loyalty they all had for each eachother & how protective Rachel was over each of her girls. We get to learn a bit of back story on each of the girls who ALL can fight & crossing paths with Rachel may have just saved their lives. There is a love interest in the story & he also is a part of the underworld Rachel thrives off of, a fighter and a poet. No instalove here though since when we meet him, they would have been dating for more than the past year. Rachel’s reconnection with him feels fated & I enjoyed learning how exactly they fell down the rabbit hole they are in when the story begins. I also can’t go without mentioning Molly who was/is Rachel’s nerdy best-friend. I absolutely ADORED Molly and seeing how fiercely loyal she is to Rachel even when she didn’t exactly deserve it. Molly is that one friend you have that you know is ride or die HAHA!

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The world Merrie Destefano has created in Lost Girls is so DARK & ADRENALINE FUELED…I couldn’t put this book down. I’m talking full on phone slapping me in the face awake at 2am because I thought I could break night just to find out what was going on. There are both female and male groups that fight in this underworld for the most part they are all high school students. This isn’t some luxury club in  a good neighborhood either, she took us into the worse of the worse. The part of town you don’t want your car to break down in & she accurately describes what it would look like & the characters that you would come across. Of course, you can’t realistically fashion an underworld with illegal fighting without the appearance of drugs. There are different types of drugs with names like Pink Lightning or Blue Thunder that the fighters are given so as to get them addicted. The writing (specifically fighting scenes) is descriptive enough to make you imagine how much pain was being inflicted. The plot & pacing were on point and maintained my attention to the very end. I look forward to reading more from this author and hope we do get another book soon *crosses fingers*

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Photo Credit: The Planet’s Last Dance

 

October Owlcrate & BOTM

 

October is already coming to an end but with it came my monthly subscription boxes…yup, that’s a plural I used there cuz I added a book subscription box to my life smh *covers eyes* in my defense, this other box is justified…kind of… sort of LOL! On to my boxes…

Owlcrate

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& if you’d like, follow me @Lair_Of_books 

Theme: Once Upon A Dream

  • Vassa In The Night by Sarah Porter (hardcover)
  • Passport (Oz inspired) from The Unemployed philosopher’s Guild
  • Bangle Charm Bracelet (Rumples spinning wheel) from The Geeky Cauldron
  • Beanie (Peter Pan inspired) from whositswhatsits
  • Button Bookmark by Myheartmytribe

I actually met Sarah Porter earlier in the month at New York Comic Con/Bookcon & received a signed finished hard cover copy of Vassa In The Night. Sarah seemed very lovely & wonderfully eccentric in full costume for the book event. Since I now have 2 finished copies of Vassa In The Night, I will be doing a giveaway soon since my 6 month blogoversary is coming up πŸ˜‰

Book Of The Month

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@Lair_of_books

Book Of the Month is a monthly subscription service offering 5 selections each month ranging in genre. BOTM does a pretty awesome job at scouting reads that are great conversation starters & are truly thought provoking. The simplicity of the box also places all of the focus on the books themselves which is refreshing in a world full of subscription boxes with an array of themes. I subscribed to BOTM in hopes that it would get done what I haven’t been able to do in a while which is get back to reading Fiction. I LOVE Fantasy & Sci-Fi but I can’t say that I don’t miss the genre that got me into reading in the first place. In order to bring some FIC back into my life I subbed to BOTM. It also didn’t hurt that I received a $5 coupon for my first month πŸ˜‰ I am really looking forward to reading The Mothers by Brit Bennett (hopefully in November) & trying out BOTM.

***Book came with box of mints, bookmark, and a letter from the BOTM judge who selected this book for the month of October.

Has anyone else subscribed to any of these boxes? if so, are you enjoying them? any BOTM subscribers out there? which book did you select for October? πŸ™‚

 

 

Review: Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger

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Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger 

Published by: Touchstone

Date of Publication: June 7th 2016

Genres: Mystery Thriller/Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Pages: 352

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (4.75 stars)

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

An instant page-turner (Lisa Gardner) that straddles the line between thriller and horror…sure to appeal to a wide range of readers, including Stephen King fans. (Booklist, starred) A young woman’s mysterious gift forces her into the middle of a dangerous investigation of a little girl’s disappearance. 

Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is rarely alone. Visited by people whom others can’t see and haunted by prophetic dreams, she has never been able to control or understand the things that happen to her. When Finley’s abilities start to become too strong for her to handle – and even the roar of her motorcycle or another dazzling tattoo can’t drown out the voices – she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York.

Merri Gleason is a woman at the end of her tether after a ten-month-long search for her missing daughter, Abbey. With almost every hope exhausted, she resorts to hiring Jones Cooper, a detective who sometimes works with psychic Eloise Montgomery. Merri’s not a believer, but she’s just desperate enough to go down that road, praying that she’s not too late. Time, she knows, is running out.

As a harsh white winter moves into The Hollows, Finley and Eloise are drawn into the investigation, which proves to have much more at stake than even the fate of a missing girl. As Finley digs deeper into the town and its endless layers, she is forced to examine the past, even as she tries to look into the future. Only one thing is clear: The Hollows gets what it wants, no matter what.

 

I’d like to thank Touchstone for providing me with a eGalley of Ink & Bone by Lisa Unger via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I guess I should start off by saying that horror is NOT my thing! this gal right here has avoided the Freddy intro ever since first hearing it at the age of 10. I was the girl who avoided spook every Halloween & somehow always managed to get “accidentally” egged LOL. The mere mention of a spirit or ghost in my home was enough to keep me up several nights & my dear old g’ma used this as a way to get my sister & I settled down when being too rowdy at night. Fast Forward to 2016 & Spookathon Read-alongs are EVERYWHERE! can’t escape them. I decided to start Ink & Bone since it was described as a mystery thriller with an ominous cover but no mention of spook just a couple of psychics….I can do psychics right?…

Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger sunk its teeth into me from the 1st page & never let me go. It starts off with a prologue which I surprisingly enjoyed. It gives us a piece of the puzzle & lingers in your mind as the story unfolds. We get introduced to a couple who have been married for 16 years (unhappily so) with 2 kids. They are both night & day, Wolf is a writer and Merri is an editor. Wolf is also quite the charmer & the player, being unfaithful from day 1. Merri is aware of his philandering but has come to accept it as the norm, knowing that he hasn’t been faithful for longer than a year at a time. Merri also knows that Wolf loves her, they have amazing sexual chemistry, and when its good its great. Its the every day cycle of their lives as parents filled with repetition and very little adventure that bores Wolf. While carrying on a relationship with another woman (complete opposite of Merri), Wolf decides that the family needs a little getaway, packs them up, and heads to The Hollows. A town filled with mystery, death, and sadness but of course at the time Wolf had no idea. Wrapped up in his own needs & wants, Wolf hasn’t found a way to cut ties with his lover and instead is stringing her along. At the end of the day he knows that he loves Merri & that he wants to be faithful, that Merri is the only woman that can truly have a hold on his heart. It’s during a outing with the kids on a hiking trail in The Hollows that everything changes for the worse. Even though we are shown what happens in the prologue, I won’t do so beause I want you ALL to read it for yourselves & enjoy it just as much I did of course HAHA! the events however, only further put a strain on their marriage. Throw in resentment, regret, guilt and what you have is a recipe for divorce…or not? won’t give that away πŸ˜‰

We also get introduced to Finley Montgomery who i’ve already added to my collection of fave female protagonists. Finley is described as having neon pink & black hair, tattoo sleeves (most of her back is covered), and a motor bike she rides all over town. Finley lives with her grandmother Eloise in The Hollows, they both are survivors of a tragic accident that left them with the powers to connect to the dead. Finley is able to see the dead who linger in this town with unresolved business. Kudos to Unger, the descriptions of these dead ones was haunting & bone chilling which led me to have to read Ink and Bone with the lights on. The Hollows is a place with abnormally high levels of abductions, murder, and abortions. It calls to others who like Finley, are able to see or feel those that have crossed over to the other side. It isn’t long before Finley’s path crosses with Merri & her family. Eleven months after the disappearance of Abbey (Merri & Wolf’s daughter), Meri still feels that there is hope and decides to resume her search by hiring an independent detective known for his work with psychics. Detective Jones Cooper has solved many cases alongside Eloise (Finley’s g’ma) but this time he will find himself working with Finley who is trying to learn how to control & set boundaries for her powers.

Thoughts

This book had me at the edge of my seat in certain parts & in others it had me searching for the light switch. The writing is haunting and a bit disturbing, I found myself wanting to know more about The Hollows but NEVER wanting to visit. The Hollows is described by Eloise to be some sort of vortex or place of power (maybe even a vacuum) that acts like a magnet for negativity which would explain all of the death. We even get to see dead spirits of three young girls who were accused & burned as witches. Unger brought The Hollows to life for me, it was a very atmospheric read that left me googling to see if it exists…haven’t found it yet (thankfully lol). I also felt that although there was resolution, we also get a sense that she’s leaving the door open for more. I can only hope that this gets turned into a series since there seems to be plenty of material & Finley is only just now getting acquainted with her powers. I did find The Whispering Hollows which is a collection of 3 short stories introducing us to The Hollows (before Ink and Bone was published) & I will be reading this in November since it’s only 159 pgs. & my curiosity for The Hollows is unusually great. If you’re looking for your next Booktober or fall read, Ink and Bone is the way to go πŸ˜‰

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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 πŸ˜‰

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

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida CΓ³rdova β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (5 stars)

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

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

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

Wrecked by Maria Padian β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (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!…

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Follow me on Instagram @Lair_Of_Books for more photos πŸ˜‰

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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 πŸ˜‰

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*

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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)

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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: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

 

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right priceβ€”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 destructionβ€”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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰

β€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.” 
― 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 πŸ˜‰

About Last Night…

My Monday started off with me trying to finish reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, a book that has been talked about & praised all over social media. It was my shameful little secret that I had not yet read this beautiful black paged book, until it was announced that Leigh Bardugo would be coming to New York City Strand Bookstore as part of her #Troublemakerstour. I could NOT put it off any longer because I’ve heard such amazing things not only about Six of Crows but the author herself. I have read the Grisha trilogy but I wasn’t too much of a fan on how that wrapped up. Six of Crows however, BLEW ME AWAY! I finished reading SOC on the train ride to the event signing for Crooked Kingdom & got off the train to immediately text Gretchen at Chicnerdreads that I had DONE IT! I had finished the book in time. I was also reeling from how it ended but nonetheless feeling pretty euphoric lol. Review for Six of Crows to come, gathering all of my thoughts & feels so that I’m not just saying I LOVED IT! over & over again lol.

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The night was made all the more special because I was also meeting Gretchen (pictured above) for the very first time after many months of communicating through social media, our blogs, gchat, text, & HILLARIOUS voice messages LOL. I met Gretchen earlier this year when she was still a booktuber, thankfully I came across her before she left Booktube & started her blog. She is actually one of the people who motivated me to start my own (4 days later to be exact haha!) & for that I am very thankful for this friendship. It should come to no surprise that a couple of bookworms decided to do a little book & comic book shopping since we arrived super early for the event…

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$18.00 for hardcover = WINNING!!! πŸ™‚

The event was to start at 6:30pm but the crazy long line started forming by 4pm, luckily we were in the front of this line. We also happened to be standing in the exact spot where Leigh Bardugo & Jesse The Reader’s car pulled up which meant she had to cut through us…

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Gretchen took this photo because I was author struck & froze, as a matter of fact it took considerable effort to move out of Leigh’s way so that she can get through *hides face* LOL!  Leigh Bardugo arrived promptly at 6pm (early) & did not keep us waiting. We were in the first group of 20 to be let in & be seated which was great because the place quickly filled up to maximum capacity. Some artwork was brought in & placed in different corners…

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I tried unsuccessfully to take a selfie with Jesper, he is hella tall & I am nothing but a shrimp next to him. Leigh & Jesse came out shortly after we were seated & from the moment she sat down it was non stop laughter from everyone because she is one funny lady! Jesse asked her a series of pop culture questions like “if the crew of Six Of Crows were Youtubers, what would each of their channels be about?” or “which drink would each of the characters order from Starbucks?” we were also given a chance to ask questions & she answered everything with sincerity, honesty, and gave some really good advice to aspiring writers. She spoke briefly about Wonder Woman; the YA book she is writing under DC but couldn’t give away too much of course. When asked about the possibility of more books in the Grishaverse she made no promises but said there are plenty more stories to tell & she’s not quite finished with that world sOOOo *fingers crossed* 

Fact:  Leigh is also donating 10% of book sales to GEMS, a charity for young girls ages 12-24 who’ve been victims of sexual exploitation & domestic trafficking. This charity works to empower young girls/women by giving them the tools they need to leave the commercial sex industry & develop their full potential. This charity is also close to the theme in Six Of Crows. 

Can we just take a moment to admire this woman’s style?!?! Fierce! after a few rounds of questions we were then asked to form a line for the book signing & again arriving early truly makes a difference (signing expected to run till 10:30pm). We were the first 20 to line up & while we waited…smh…we realized there were other authors present for this event. We spotted Zoraida CΓ³rdova author of Labyrinth Lost (I recently reviewed & LOVED this book here), Daniel JosΓ© Older author of Shadowshaper (on my TBR, probably will get a copy at Bookcon next week), and Libba Bray author of The Diviners series (I own & need to stop procrastinating). It happened again, I froze & didn’t woman up to talk to Zoraida but ummm there will be other times *cough* for sure…smh LOL. Back to Leigh Bardugo, it was finally our turn to get our books signed and take a photo  with Leigh…

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This was simply AMAZING! she struck up a convo when she saw my name on the post-it (Lilly) & told me that when she was a little girl, her parents used to call her LeeLee which is what my parents call me in Spanish. I got to pick up one of the playing cards that were face down on the table & drew Inej which YESSSSS!!! I LOVE!!!! also got a pin & a crow shaped cookie but that broke into bits so no pic lol.

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Gretchen & I ended the night by going to Chipotle since we had skipped lunch and it was around 8 or 9pm. We chatted up a bit about the event AND already prepping for next week’s BookCon @ NYC Comicon. It was a great night & I had so much fun with Gretchen that I cannot wait to do it again! Thank you Gretchen for taking the photos at the event cuz you know you had the heels/height, what would I have done without you?!?! πŸ™‚

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Six of Crows bookmark was part of the September Owlcrate, got it just in time for Crooked Kingdom!

The Cookie Book Tag

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& I’m BACK with a tag this Sunday afternoon! I haven’t done a tag in a bit but I stumbled across this one over at Sara from Freedom Library  and thought why not?!?! it’s hella cute! I’m a HUGE cookie LOVER & this tag is only making me want to go to a pastry shop with my book which would probably work against my diet but YOLO right?!? smh lol. The creator of this tag is Nicole from Sorry, I’m Booked

RULES:

  • In addition to linking back to the person who tagged you, it would be awesome if you link back to Nicole’s original post!
  • Pick a book that corresponds to the cookie’s β€˜theme’
    Have fun!
  • Tag 1 to 3 people

CHOCOLATE CHIP: A CLASSIC BOOK THAT YOU LOVE OR REALLY ENJOYED (INTERPRET CLASSIC HOW YOU WANT, IT CAN BE A CLASSIC WRITTEN 100 YEARS AGO OR 20 YEARS AGO)

I have 2 that I hold close to my heart: To Kill a Mockingbird & The Iliad, both of which I read in grade school & stirred up my love for classics. I was very young when I was reading most well known classics on my own because YA unfortunately was not yet a thing. One of my goals in 2017 is to re-visit some well known classics with my now adult mind πŸ˜‰

THIN MINTS: A FANDOM THAT YOU REALLY WANT TO β€˜JOIN’ AND/OR A HYPED-UP BOOK YOU WANT TO READ (YOUR SOURCE(S) OF A BOOK BEING HYPED CAN BE FROM ANYWHERE)

Easy! The Falling Kingdoms series, I’ve slowly been purchasing the books in this series (from Bookoutlet) which already has a spin-off. I think what is so appealing about this series besides it being Fantasy is that it’s told in multiple POV’s which is my fave format in books. It’s going to happen soon, I’m going to binge these πŸ˜‰

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SHORTBREAD: AN AUTHOR YOU CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF

Recently my very first New Adult series & now i’m kind of going through withdrawals because besides one other book she currently has out…there’s nothing else to read from her…K.A Tucker my friends!!! I still faithfully check her social media for any nugget of info *crosses fingers* ❀ U GRAY 4 introducing me to my new obsession!

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SAMOAS/CARAMEL DELITES: AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER (THIS COOKIE WAS HARD …SO ANY BOOK THAT MADE YOU FEEL MORE THAN ONE EMOTION, STRONGLY. THE CHOICE OF EMOTIONS IS UP TO YOU)

Sara at Freedom Library had an awesome pick for this one cuz More Happy Than Not definitely put me THROUGH it Gals & Ghouls! BUT alas, I’ll give the honors to a more recent read, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. It was such a ride that I haven’t watched the movie yet, just not ready lol.

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OREOS: A BOOK WHOSE COVER WAS BETTER THAN THE STORY OR VICE VERSA, WHERE THE STORY WAS BETTER THAN ITS COVER

Ummm..LOL..I can’t go into this one too much because i’m still experiencing the dissapointment 700 pages later. I have a review for Empire Of Storms here in which I rated this 5th installment a 3.5 stars but since then it’s been bumped to  a 3 possibly even a 2.5…Jussayin…

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TAGALONGS/PEANUT BUTTER PATTIES: A BOOK THAT WASN’T WHAT YOU EXPECTED (GOOD, BAD, OR JUST DIFFERENT, INTERPRET HOW YOU WISH)

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kauffman!!! THIS BOOK! Oh Goodness! I was so intimidated by the format of this book which is told in a series of e-mails, memo’s, and chat’s until I finally decided to take the plunge. NO REGRETS! BEST DECISION EVER! 1st book to make me jump off my couch yelling YES! YES! YES! such a good story & I’ve already reserved my copy of Gemina πŸ˜‰

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SNICKERDOODLES: A BOOK YOU MAY NEVER STOP REREADING/LOVING

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness…Crushed me in it’s beautiful sadness, through magical realism this story weaves a powerful tale that has stayed with me since the 1st day I opened it. I don’t do re-reads nor do I remember many details of books I read a year back cuz I just have terrible memory but not this book. A Monster Calls will be with me till I grow old…

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I tag the following lovely Book Lovers:

Gretchen at ChicNerdReads

Jillian at RantandRaveaboutbooks

Beth at Readingeverynight

Melissa at Booknerdmomo

Amanda at Cover2CoverMom

Stephanie at TeacherofYA’s Book Blog

Drew at TheTattooedBookGeek

 

 

 

September’s Owlcrate Unboxing

It’s that time again!!! My September Owlcrate box arrived & the theme this month is DARKNESS! I am VERY happy with the curating of Owlcrate’s boxes but this one takes the cake! They’ve outdone themselves with an EPIC box. Three Dark Crowns is one my most highly anticipated books for fall 2016 so pardon me while I *SquEeee*πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€— lol. 

Favorite item in the box has to be the Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children canvas pouch & the Raven Cycle series inspired fortune telling bath fizzers from Da Bomb Bath Fizzers. Also in this box is a bookmark Inspired by Leigh Bardugo’s Six Of Crows from Evie Seo aka Eviebookish (my next read πŸ˜‰), a Throne of Glass inspired candle by The Melting Library in the exclusive scent Celeana’s Cake (smells like cotton candy YUM!) & the first episode in a 15 episode YA sci-fi series titled ReMade. For those of you who have an account with NetGalley, they currently have some of the next few episodes in this 15 episode series available as “Read Now”.

I feel like these past few boxes, Owlcrate has been raising the bar for themselves. This has to be my favorite box this year (so far). I’m already using the canvass pouch as my makeup bag & Im reading Six Of Crows so the bookmark came at the perfect time. Now, to find the time to enjoy the bath bomb, is my next mission in life! #goals πŸ˜‚

Did anyone else LOVE this month’s Owlcrate? Also, I have this thing where I have to guess the next month’s box & so far I’ve been right the past 3 boxes lol. I must say that I have NO clue what October’s pick could possibly be. Open to some guesses though, leave them right down below lol.

Review: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. ο»ΏMaasο»Ώ

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sara J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: September 6th, 2016

Format: I own HC

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Page Count: 693 pages

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜… 3.5 stars

 

  

Goodreads Synopsis:

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down? 

 

 

PLOT

This being the 5th book in the Throne of Glass series, I will keep my review short to avoid spoilers. However, if you’re anything like me who avoids ALL talk revolving my current read for fear of what I may or may not consider to be a spoiler myself, then maybe save this review for another time? lol

We see Celeana aka Aelin Galathynius & her rag tag group of friends (including her consort) on the hunt for the wyrdkeys while fending off threats & attacks from opposing forces. In this book they actually go up against more than one enemy, all of who want the wyrdkeys for their own evil doings. Aelin finds that taking up her throne is not as easy as just revealing her identity; she will actually have to prove she deserves to be queen. Terrasen has been without their queen for many years & to protect her homeland she will have to fight true & hard. Empire of Storms chronicles Aelin’s quest for the wyrdkeys, allies, and ultimately the truth.

 

Characters

I am a HUGE Manon & Abraxos fan & in the beginning chapters could not get enough of them. So much so that I was anxiously if not impatiently getting through the 1st non-Manon chapters rather quickly just to get back to her story. This is a close to 700-page book & I’m glad that it did NOT take long for the action to start (pg 60 to be exact lol) & continue all throughout. Empire of Storms came with tons of nuggets of background information for some of our most favorite characters. I especially loved getting more info on Aedion, Brannon, and Elena. Lysandra also came to be a favorite since she’s evolving & becoming a valuable player in Aelin’s court also, who doesn’t love a shapeshifter? she managed to pull off some really neat tweaks that left me thinking she’s a baddie lol. When it comes to Aelin aka Celeana I kind of wasn’t the biggest fan of our young queen, in this installment. Specifically because certain power moves make you question whether Terrasen is enough or whether she will want more. I also wasn’t too keen on how she treated specific characters when it came to matters of the court & war. Her dialogue in general peeved me off quite a bit, it’s almost as if she had taken 20 leaps backwards in maturity. All in all, I enjoyed being back in this world with most of the characters. 

On the topic of coupling, although I loved some of the relationships that developed into a bit more… I can’t say that I am completely pleased with how closely Empire of Storms follows A Court of Mist and Fury in this aspect. I’m glad that certain things left off where they did because realistically, not everyone will find their perfect mate or match w/out some obstacles within that relationship (excluding the outside powers that be) making it more challenging to co-exist.

 

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Writing

One thing I love about these books is how quick paced they are without compromising the story. With so many characters in a book, some with their own story lines taking place apart from the group; Maas manages to tie them all in to the central story very effectively. I also have to give it to Maas for giving each of these characters such strong personalities & their own distinct voices, they practically jump off the page. Which I guess is a good thing seeing as Hulu has picked up the Throne of Glass series for production & i’m psyched to see the cast assemble.

 

Final Thoughts

Ok, so I guess I should explain why i’ve given Empire of Storms a 3.5 instead of the 5 stars mostly everyone has rated it. I can’t deny that I enjoyed the hell out of this book & it was a fun & obstacle filled quest I was more than happy to embark upon. I did however have issues with the last 200 pages of this book or what i’ve come to call…”The Final Stretch” I buddy read this book with my husband who loves the series for it’s brutal fighting scenes which led to him finishing this book the night before I did. Since he did not read Sarah J. Maas’ other ongoing series A Court of Thorns & Roses, the final stretch was original to him. I however, I found too many similarities if not outright exact scenes from A Court of Thorns & Roses to truly enjoy some of the things that took place. This is not to say that I hated the ending, on the contrary I actually really liked some of the final wrap-up. I just couldn’t give this 5 stars after reading A Court of Mist & Fury very recently and loving that series for what it is-a separate series of it’s own. Also, in regards to that ending…it seems we were being told a story from an unreliable narrator which is fine with me. Sometimes those make for some of the most interesting stories. However, after riding hard lol with Aelin & crew through 5 books…I felt a little blindsided? I’m still working through these thoughts gals & ghouls. Overall, a fun read with plenty of power moves & scheming to keep you on your toes…Oh & plenty of heart wrenching moments to tug at your heart strings til’ you possibly shed a few tears πŸ˜‰