SPOILER FREE REVIEW: GRACE AND FURY BY TRACY BANGHART

Title: GRACE AND FURY

Author: TRACY BANGHART

Pub. Date: July 31ST. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Pages: 320

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

Buddy Read: Melanie, Amy, Jules, Jen

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

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

   

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUNE FAIRYLOOT

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

JUNE BOOK OF THE MONTH

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

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


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


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: SPINNING SILVER BY NAOMI NOVIK❄️

Title: SPINNING SILVER

Author: NAOMI NOVAK

Pub. Date: July 10th. 2018

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Re-telling

Publisher: DEL REY

Pages: 448

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

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

    

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

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

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

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

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

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


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CANDLES IN BOOKLAND UNBOXING…

Hello Bookworms! It’s been a minute since I’ve done an unboxing here on Lair Of Books but in the spirit of starting them up again I come to you with one worthy of your attention 😍 I recently started repping for Candles in Bookland who also recently curated their first themed box. Titled “The Thirteen” this box is centered around Manon Blackbeak and the 13 witches in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I was over the moon excited to hear my favorite character in the series was getting a box focused on them cause Queen Manon is worthy of all that & more! You can find Candles In Bookland on Instagram & the shop link is linked above and will be linked at the very end of this unboxing as well.

 

The Bookmarks…

The STUNNING artwork for the Manon & Abraxos bookmark was created by Kaya @Kayadoodles

 Asterin, Manon, and Elide were created by Salome Totladze @MorganaOanagrom

The Art Prints…

Elide & Asterin art prints to match bookmarks were created by the talented  Salome Totladze @MorganaOanagrom

Fierce Manon print created by 

Salome Totladze @MorganaOanagrom

The Book Sleeve…

🖤 Created by Julie & Brittney @babymybook this book sleeve will fit most tomes. My hardcover copy of A Court Of Mist and Fury fit snug as a bug & the kangaroo pouch allows you to stash any stationary on the go

The Candles…

🖤 Everything was packaged so nicely & the red really pops and gives off Manon Vibes! 

Manon- Sweet Cider, Cloves, Blood Orange, Citrus, Warm Spices, Sandalwood 

Elide- Amber, Musk, Cherry, Floral, Jasmine, Berry, and Sandalwood

Asterin- Leather, Woody, Raspberry, and Vanilla

🖤 The Manon candle is a two color blended candle that has this amazing citrus scent. Elide’s candle is my fave of all, warm with hints of cherry and jasmine that make me want this candle is a HUGE jar 😂 The Asterin candle smells of lovely Raspberry with a hint of vanilla 💜 to top it off these have glitter on top and look so beautiful! 

Sorrel- Amber, warm spices, sandalwood

Abraxos- wild flowers, spice, clean air fresh herbal scent, a hint of leather

🖤 Sorrel smells like Autumn in a jar while Abraxos reminds me of my fave laundry detergent with its fresh scent 


“The Thirteen” is a June Exclusive box by Candles In Bookland that will leave fans of Manon Blackbeak and the 13 blown away!!! This is their first themed box and the quality really speaks for itself. The box does have a quote written on the front flap that has a misspelling the shop owner is aware of. However, this mishap is quickly forgotten the minute you open your box. I’m always on the hunt for bookish merch, candles & bookmarks being the top two items I buy the most of. I am MOST certainly looking forward to the next one! 🖤🖤🖤
CANDLES IN BOOKLAND | REP CODE: LAIROFBOOKS10

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May Book Haul

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAIRYLOOT

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ONYX & IVORY BY MINDEE ARNETT

    

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

BOOK OF THE MONTH

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THE PERFECT MOTHER BY AIMEE MOLLOY 


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


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Spoiler Free Review: Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas #2) by Zoraida Córdova

Title: Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas #2)

Author: Zoraida Córdova

Pub. Date: June 5th. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: SourceBooks Fire

Pages: 352

Format: eGalley

Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

*HUGE thanks to SourceBooks Fire and Zoraida Córdova for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

Images from Pinterest, not my own

    

There’s something special about the second book in a trilogy, it’s almost always the book to determine whether you keep going or hit the brakes. Bruja Born had me entranced in its spell, I couldn’t think of anything else when I wasn’t reading it. I enjoyed Labyrinth Lost last year but Bruja Born has left me head over heels in love with Zoraida Córdova’s writing, characters, and expanded world (more on this further down). I’m a Latinx Brooklynite myself & all I would’ve needed to top this read off was a front stoop or Brooklyn rooftop to read under the night sky. Atmospheric, dark, lush with culture & lore, a story filled with magic & its consequences. A tale about love & letting go, acceptance and self-love…I didn’t expect the many layers we got in this book but can honestly say Bruja Born blew me away!

“Follow my voice, my love, my love. Death cannot tear us apart. Take my hand, my love, my love. Follow the light of my heart. —Lula’s Healing Canto, Book of Cantos”

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Bruja Born picks up after the events in Los Lagos (the underworld) in the first book Labyrinth Lost. Since this is a sequel I won’t go into too much detail to avoid all the spoilery things. When I think of Los Lagos I picture Guillermo Del Torro’s Pan’s Labyrinth in terms of how dark this world is. Labyrinth Lost was told from the point of view of Alex, the actions she took had some serious shared consequences between her & her sisters. These consequences play out in this second installment which is told from Alex’s sister Lula’s POV. Lula has had the most burden to bear from the events in the last book but they all pretty much came back changed one way or another. Lula is struggling with all of her relationships & is facing a possible break-up with her boyfriend Maks who cares a lot for her but is finding it hard to deal with her distance. Lula is hiding things from Maks both beneath & on surface level. In the Goodreads blurb we are told there’s an accident that leads to the deaths of many of Lula’s classmates including Maks. Lula’s inability to let Maks go leads her down a path of defiance where she’ll have to answer to Lady De La Muerte aka Lady Death herself. Lula and her sisters have a history of going up against the Deos (Gods) but this time they may have bitten off more than they can chew.

“The Deos, too, learned their limits. El Fuego extinguished into ash. La Ola crumbled into salt. El Terroz clove the earth in pieces. El Viento fell and kept on falling. But from their limits, Lady de la Muerte was born —The Creation of the Deos, Antonietta Mortiz de la Paz”

There’s a system of checks & balances where Lady De La Muerte is concerned and defying death has never gone unpunished. As frightening as Lady De La Muerte sounds, seeing her come to life on the page was terrifying! envisioning her staff alone was enough to make me read with the lights on. The depiction was on point & whenever there was a scene with Lady De La Muerte I was left shooketh! There’s so much to this book to love but perhaps the expansion & inclusion of other magical beings we all know and love, is what took this book to yet another level of enjoyment. I picked up on some Mortal Instruments vibes as well but make no mistake Bruja Born is its own thing & the Latinx representation is strong and beautiful! The family bonds in this sequel are strengthened and we get to see their ups & downs. This isn’t just your straight forward Fantasy where demons are fought & the hero comes to the rescue. This is a story where there aren’t any clear winners and the consequences of defying the laws of nature are as big as the deed itself. The characters you meet on the page are complex and flawed but they all have come to love the magic that runs deep in their blood.

Córdova has created a world centered around a Latinx family of Brujas & Brujos I’ve come to love spending time with between the pages. Maybe it’s the snippets of Spanish sprinkled throughout the pages or the familiarity of this family that pull me in but seeing more diversity in YA Fantasy has genuinely made me fall in love with the genre once again!


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Spoiler Free Review: Airports, Exes, And Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff

Title: Airports, Exes, And Other Things I’m Over

Author: Shani Petroff

Pub. Date: May 15th, 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Romance

Publisher: Swoon Reads/Macmillan

Pages: 224

Format: Physical ARC from the Publisher

Goodreads | Barnes & Nobles | Amazon

*HUGE thanks to Swoon Reads/Macmillan and Shani Petroff for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

   

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A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart… what could go wrong?

After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can’t get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari’s. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev!

When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!

I’d like to preface this review by stating that I am a sucker for stories set in airports…it’s my #1 setting of preference for cute rom-coms & so naturally, seeing a book with airport in the title meant I was going to have to read said book 🤗 No Regrets here! this was exactly what was pitched, a fun fast easy read that got quite a few giggles out of me along the way. Our MC Sari does catch her boyfriend Zev kissing his ex girlfriend at a house party. Sari doesn’t stick around for explanations, she’s ghost in nano seconds and decides to keep her vacation plans. Plans she had with Zev to go visit her grandmother in Florida. This is the perfect way to get away from the hurt & pain of Zev’s betrayal and also a chance to prepare for her upcoming performance at one of the hottest clubs. Sari is a signer/composer who travels with her guitar Ruby in hopes of one day being a break out star & this seems attainable when she gets the call to perform at a club known to be the the home of many famous singers. Focused on nailing her performance, Sari tries her hardest not to think of Zev. The only problem is Zev refuses to let her throw in the towel before he can explain. We see Zev follow Sari to Florida & later get stuck together at the airport due to inclement weather.

* Photos from Pinterest, not my own

Strangely enough, I found myself enjoying all of the characters in this book. From the MC and her determined ex to her parents, grandmother, and BFF there really wasn’t a shortage of awesome people in Sari’s life. Although I do wish they were more fleshed out, I was happy to see how much of a positive support system Sari had at home. Her best friend never seemed judgmental and seemed genuinely concerned for Sari, dropping everything at a moments notice to talk some sense into Sari. The Parentals were actually visible in this book, yeah they seemed like the typical parents who obsesses over the safety of their children but I found this made them all the more realistic. They also reminded me of my parents who at one point formed a tight bond with an ex of mine, so much so that they’d bypass calling me as a whole which also happens to Sari. Along the way Sari also meets Fitz & Dylan, two college guys who are super chill and left me wondering if after they parted ways, would ever meet up with Sari again once she’s in college. Sari herself had me feeling like she couldn’t catch a break. No matter where she turned, she couldn’t escape the guy who up until recently only  had eyes for her. Zev on the other hand is the guy you don’t want to believe capable of cheating. They’re the picture perfect fairytale high school sweethearts who may just have to accept a different future where they aren’t meant to be together…

Did I think things could’ve been handled better with some communication? YES. However, I also felt Sari’s reaction & coping mechanisms were pretty accurate for someone her age who is basically with her High School sweetheart. I found it so hard hard to dislike Zev, the guy is pretty charming in a nerdy way that makes you shake your head while mouthing “how could you”? although I do wish we’d had more time with these characters, I really enjoyed my time with this book. Sari’s efforts to put distance between her & Zev in an airport proved to be challenging & offered up some comedic relief. The text messages between Sari’s mother & Zev had me wanting to call her mom & beg her to STOP! haha! This is one of those books I’d love to see adapted as a Rom-Com on the big screen if only for another chance to see all of these characters together again. If you’re looking for a cute, fun, fast read about trust & taking a risk on love then this is one you’ll want to give a go 💜


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April book Haul

Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having magnificent starts/ends to your  day 💜 this post is scheduled so I imagine by the time you’re reading this I am somewhere under the concrete jungle that is NYC playing Frogger jumping from one train to the next all in an effort to get to work. Your comments down below are the first thing I see when I get in the office (with some time to spare 🤞🏼) & reading them is my fave way to decompress in the AM before adulting. Feel free to comment down below if you’ve read any of these titles or if you feel I should bump up any one in particular on my TBR 💜

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All Out: The No Longer Secret Stories Of Queer Teens Throughout The Ages | Moonstruck Volume 1: Magic To Brew | Leah On The Offbeat Creekwood #2) | The Wicked Deep (my review)

The Black God’s Drum | Mirage | The Queen Of Crows (The Sacred Throne #2)Girls Of Paper And Fire | The Wicked King (The Folk Of The Air #2)

* I’m currently buddy reading Mirage & enjoying it SO MUCH! I had no idea it was a sci-fi/fantasy so it was a nice surprise 💜

Empress Of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

*I was approved for this one on Netgalley early on in April for this Asian inspired Fantasy & I couldn’t be more over the moon hyped for this 💜

April Fairyloot

Beyond A Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

*I’m already using the Carpe Diem notepad cause one can never have too many stationery 😂 LOVE the travel mug 💙 the candle I can do w/out, I’m just not a fan of strong musky scents. The art print is beautiful 😍 and this is honestly one of the books I’ve been really interested in. Definitely cool getting a book I hadn’t read as an arc but had high interest in 🙌🏼 Overall this box gets…

   

April Book Of The Month

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Circe by Madeline Miller

*I was fully prepared to start this one two nights ago until I realized I had a buddy read scheduled & this had to be paused. I feel like Circe is going to need my undivided attention, super stoked to get to this one next 💜



I hope you all are having wonderful days & reading all the great books! I also wanted to congratulate Darnell again on winning my Dread Nation Giveaway! 🎉🎉🎉🎉 I hope to have a few more giveaways throughout the rest of the year, for books as good as this one! 💜


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Spoiler Free Review: Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2)

Title: Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2)

Author: Mark Lawrence

Pub. Date: April 3rd 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Ace/Penguin Random House

Pages: 400

Format: Physical finished copy from Publisher

Content Warning: gore, torture, loss of a child

*HUGE thanks to Ace and Mark Lawrence for the early finished copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

    

In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain.
.
There will be blood.

Grey Sister was on my highly anticipated list of sequels being released in 2018 after reading & loving Red Sister (my review here) to pieces last year. The main protagonist Nona still remains one of my all time favorite kick a** females I’ve come across on the page. If you’re primarily a YA Fantasy reader but have been curious & feeling the urge to dip your toes into the waters of adult fantasy then I’d say please start here! If you’ve been looking for more books featuring positive female friendships, please start here! & if you are a lover of school settings where magic & martial arts come together, please start here! If you’re looking for positive LGBTQIA+ representation in Fantasy, please start here! I was one of those readers intimidated by adult fantasy because of the vast world building & discovering Mark Lawrence will always be one of the best reader moments in my bookworm life. The complexities of the world building once again felt weightless when I picked up Grey Sister which speaks to the talent behind the pen. The inclusion (before the prologue) of a quick run-down of the major happenings in Red Sister is a wonderful courtesy to readers & so appreciated by this bookworm!

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Hunska: Speed (faster than your average human)

Gerrant: Physically large & strong

Marjal: ability to do magic on a smaller scale

Quantal: ability to walk the path & more complex magic

*Nona is a rare triple blood having Hunska, Marjal, and Quantal abilities

Novices have 10 years to complete training & take orders as one of the four classes “Holy Sister (entirely religious duties), Grey Sister/Sister of Discretion (trained in assassination and stealth), Red Sister/Martial Sister (trained in combat), Holy Witch/Mystic Sister (trained to walk the path)”

When we pick up, Nona has moved up to Mystic class (she’s completed both Red & Grey Class) and is on her way to becoming one of the illest Red Sisters alive. Sweet Mercy is still her home where she trains alongside friends and foes. Classes are way more intense & so are the rivalries but this time is a little different. Nona has a unwelcome companion that adds a bit of dark humor to the mix & I found myself laughing out loud at his “words of encouragement”🤦🏻‍♀️one thing does remain the same, Nona may be fierce as hell but she is still willing to forgive those who have wronged her. Friendship is once again center stage & is one of the things I love most about this series. Nona has pretty much had to create her own family within Sweet Mercy, her sisters are all she has. We see the return of some favorites while they mourn the loss of others & cope with the betrayal of those they thought most loyal. For Nona, letting go of the past without answers to the questions haunting her every move is just not an option. This book sees Nona take action and go after those corrupt leaders  in the Empire who are thirsty for more power.

We also got to see more of our favorite teachers in action alongside Nona & crew. This time around there’s also more opposition from some of the teachers who’d rather Nona be released from her duties in Sweet Mercy. Nonetheless, Abbess Glass (reminds me a bit of Dumbledore hehe) is fair & just, taking a rather protective stance over Nona who she knows has no ties to the outside world. Revenge is a recurrent theme, Nona is out to get hers while also being sought out for her actions in Red Sister. Nona’s character development is perhaps one of the best aspects of this series. She’s no longer the 8 year old we met at the gallows in book 1, she’s matured into a teenager who is learning how to manage her demons. If you’ve been around my blog for a minute, it’s no secret I admire Nona and  Grey Sister only amplified my love for this character. If she wasn’t dealing with her new Nemesis in Sweet Mercy (who btw made me want to jump through the book and back up my girl Nona), you could probably find her in the caves underneath Sweet Mercy with her friends, plotting her next moves.

My favorite parts were seeing Nona both prep and  actually go through the Shadow Trial, in Sweet Mercy these convent games determine your passage to the next class. The ingenuity she mustered up in the face of truly devious competition had me smiling from ear to ear rooting her on. The action sequences have a cinematic feel making it very easy to picture & get caught up in the moment. Lawrence takes us along on Nona’s journey through the ranks, her victories and failures are truly felt on the pages. The villains in this installment have been identified on the chess board but I have a feeling Lawrence has a few more tricks up his sleeve for the final installment in this trilogy, Holy Sister. The Book of the Ancestor is set to wrap up in 2019 with Holy Sister already completed 🤗 SUPER STOKED to see how it all ends & seeing Nona in all her Red Sister glory!

Buddy read with the wonderful Melanie from Meltotheany, seriously bookworms if you’re not following her you’re missing out on some of the BEST EPIC reviews & insight in the blogosphere & Goodreads 💜


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March Book Haul

Hey there Bookworms! March was a bit of a slow month for me here on the blog & I’m not sure there’s any specific reason. We all experience those lows but I will say that it thankfully didn’t hinder my reading. I read some hefty books that blew me away & I can’t wait to discuss those in my wrap-up which I promise to have up this week. Here I come to you with my March Book Haul in which I once again didn’t buy very many yet somehow ended up with a good stack. No complaints here though, this is the time of year I kick my reading into high gear, so without further ado…

This is probably the look I give a book with with a epic cover haha!

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Sweet Black Waves | The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) | Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) 

I’ve already read Obsidio & The Heart Forger, RTC ☺ Also, I messed up & forgot to include my fave book hauled this month…Children of Blood and Bone *sobs*

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Toil & Trouble | Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over | To Be Honest| Grim Lovelies | Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2)- finished copy

I finished Grey Sister & it was EVERYTHING I could’ve ever wanted! RTC ☺

Undead Girl Gang | From Twinkle, With Love | LIFEL1K3 | The Way You Make Me Feel 

Spring is in the air! 💜💜💜

March Fairyloot

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State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

I’m currently rocking the hell outta this scarf! the runes are so friggin beautiful & it legit goes with everything I wear. I’ll be using the soap tonight so cross your fingers for my skin please, it smells amazing I just don’t want it to morph me into anything 😂🤞🏼

March Book Of The Month

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Rainbirds | The Astonishing Color of After | Not That I Could Tell


Happy Thursday Bookworms!!! I hope you’re all having a wonderful start to the month reading ALL the good books 🤗 I’ve been having such an AMAZING reading year so far & hope to keep it going in April 🤞🏼Are any of the books I hauled on your TBR? I am LOVING the different types of rep in this haul & will continue to seek out diversity of all kinds in my books 💜


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