SPOILER FREE REVIEW: PRIDE BY IBI ZOBOI

Title: Pride

Author: Ibi Zoboi

Pub. Date: September 18th. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Re-telling

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper

Pages: 304

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

BUSHWICK BROOKLYN MURAL (Photo = link to source)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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September Monthly Wrap Up

September was such an odd month having just returned from vacation during the very first week, I was riding a happiness HIGH! Many asked me where I’d gone to which I responded “The happiest place on Earth” YES! Orlando Florida/Disneyland. See, this was my first vacation in over 10 years and I had no clue how badly I needed it till my first morning of waking up without an alarm clock.  Best of all was our trip to Universal Studios aka home to Harry Potter aka the land of endless Butterbeer *heart eyes* I’ve told this story here before but, I met my hubby when I walked into my 1st day of work at my then office, carrying Goblet of Fire. He was holding a copy of Deathly Hallows & we gravitated towards each other in true Nerd love haha! It was nice getting to experience & share our love for a fandom that lives near & dear to our hearts. Although it did rain all the while we were there, that didn’t stop us from seeing all there is to see in HP world. We finished our trip by getting our wands & having lunch at the Three broomsticks #BLISS! 🙂

Once back in New York I dived back into my books since I didn’t necessarily miss them (1st vacay & all) while away but once back I wanted to read them all. I joined #Contemporaryathon to keep it light but I did manage to squeeze in two amazing Fantasy books & one beautiful anthology. All in all, it’s probably one of the MOST fun reading months I’ve had all year long…

 

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson✨5 STARS 

I didn’t know what to expect going into this one but it was hands down one of the best adult fantasy books I’ve ever read. This was the book chosen by Melanie from Meltotheany for her Birthday Read along & I’m so glad I decided to participate. There’s a ton of political strategizing & ruthlessness to spare but I still believe this one is best to go into blind. If you’re a fan of Game Of Thrones, this will most likely appeal to you 😉

Check Out Mel’s Review here

As She Ascends (Fallen Isles #2) by Jodi Meadows (Review✨5 STARS 

This is the sequel to top all sequels! I absolutely devoured this read and loved every minute of it. If you read Before She Ignites and enjoyed it but wished there’d been more action & more DRAGONS! please pick this one up! Meadows knocks it out the park and really fleshed out all her characters. Side characters step up and the dragons have personalities & just gahhhhh! I could be here all day gushing about this one haha 🙂

Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Youth (Review✨4 STARS 

This is an anthology I was sent for review and another one I am so glad to have had the privilege of reading. I think this collection is SUPER important & very much needed. This is a Own Voices collection, I’m unsure if each of the authors represent the exact disability their own story was based off of. There’s a variety of disabilities/mental health rep in this collection that I loved to pieces!

Fight or Flight by Samantha Young (FULL RTC)✨3 STARS

Sooo this is where it got interesting haha! I won’t lie and say I wasn’t flipping pages at the speed of light.This was honestly one of those rare moments where I picked up a Contemp. Romance & thought I was enjoying it but something was niggling me that just couldn’t be ignored. The Male love interest, ahhhh! he wasn’t the nicest & often left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I have a full review coming to the blog this Sunday 10/14/18.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (Review✨4 STARS

If you read & enjoyed The Wedding Date earlier this year, I’d say it’s a safe bet you will also enjoy this companion novel set in the same world. TBH, I enjoyed this one wayyyyy more than TWD. From the minute we were introduced to Carlos in TWD, I knew I wanted a full backstory to this character! with only a few bumps in the road, I can honestly say I was satisfied with this arc. Also, if you enjoy books with food and culture weaved in then I’d say you’re in for a real treat with this one 😉

Blue Is The Warmest Color by Julie Maroh (Graphic Novel)✨5 STARS

Goodness! I really didn’t think I’d end up crying with this one. As a matter of fact I was wondering whether I was just dead inside and couldn’t see what everyone else was seeing. Whelp! those last few pages REALLLLLY got me & sure enough the tears flowed easily. This is one that stays with you way after you’ve finished reading. I fave a mini-spoiler free review coming but If you decide to give this one a go, content warning for Homophobia & cheating

Pride by Ibi Zoboi (FULL RTC)✨5 STARS

Saved the best for last here really! Keeping it short because I have a full on GUSH review coming on all the reason why this book is making my best of 2018 list. I also HIGHLY recommend the audio-book as it is narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo the author of The Poet X. This is a Pride & Prejudice “Remix” set in Brooklyn. The MC is Afro-Latinx & the very relevant topic of Gentrification within the city boroughs is woven all throughout. This book only further solidified my love for this author & I truly look forward to whatever she writes next.


I Hope you’re all having a wonderful day! we’re finally beginning to see Fall weather here & there in New York. I am so READY to pull out my sweaters, candles, and tea mugs *heart eyes*

I did want to let you know that I am running a GIVEAWAY over on my Instagram (IG link listed below) for a 2019 ARC of Four Dead Queens!!!!! head on over to the original IG post for the rules of entry & may luck be ever in your favor <3’s!


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SEPTEMBER BOOK HAUL

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

Image result for i see books memes

 

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

FAIRYLOOT

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Mirage (my review) by Somaiya Daud

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

Fairyloot art prints & apron with quote

Owlcrate Vicious & Vengeful Exclusive Edition

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BOOK OF THE MONTH

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

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

KINDLE & AUDIBLE

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

*Review for Pride goes live on 10/4*

eGalleys

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


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


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Spoiler Free Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Title:Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating

Author: Christina Lauren

Pub. Date: September 4th. 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 320

Content Warnings: Homophobic slur referenced & cheating on behalf of a background character

Buddy Read: Mel from Meltotheany

🦋 ARC received in exchange for an honest review 🦋  

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

I’m newer to the Contemporary Romance genre than most of my Blogger friends but Christina Lauren is a name I’ve heard float around since the beginning of my blogging journey. I came across Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating on Bookstagram & of course the colors caught my attention for a potentially fun read 💓 Happy to report that it is most definitely one of the MOST fun reads I’ve read in a long time. I laughed & giggled so much and also just rooted for a new found favorite character. Hazel & Josh are the definition of night and day but also give truth to the saying “Opposites attract.” I enjoyed getting to know these two characters over the course of several bad double dates and shook my head so many times reading my first ever friends to lovers romance. Funny & a downright blast to read, I’d easily recommend this book for a good time. Weaved throughout the story is a awesome F/F friendship, A+ sibling relationship, and Korean-American rep.  I also might be a little biased only because Hazel reminded me SO much of Polly Prince from Along Came Polly who I absolutely ADORE for all her unapologetic quirks and eccentricities 🙌🏽

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These characters were so much fun getting to know and although Hazel and Josh are the MC’s, I also included a side character. Emily is BFF to Hazel & also Josh’s sister & many times fills the role of translator between the two. Emily knows her brother & BFF better than they know themselves and really does have both their best interest in mind. One of the best examples of F/F friendship #GOALS I’ve found on the page.

Hazel– Quirky, eccentric, free spirited, feminist AF, and openly admires Josh which really made for some of the funniest lines. Hazel is a teacher & everything from her quirky clothing to her love of animals make her the complete opposite of Josh who she’s known since college. Hazel’s unbending will to stay true to herself made her an instant fave for me & I just LOVED the message she sends out with regards to self acceptance 🖤

“The world seems full of men who are initially infatuated by our eccentricities, but who ultimately expect them to be temporary. These men eventually grow bewildered that we don’t settle down into calm, potential-wifey girlfriends.”

Hazel’s mother is also briefly mentioned but we get enough to know where Hazel’s beliefs come from. Having a mother who was unhappily married to a man who never accepted her quirks, Hazel looks up to her mom for having the strength to move away from that. It isn’t about changing the person you’re with, it’s about loving them for all of the things that make them stand out 🖤

“I realize that finding the perfect person isn’t going to be easy for me because I’m a lot to take” she says, “but I’m not going to change just so that I’m more dateable.”

Josh/Jimin- a Korean-American doctor Hazel went to college with but has since lost touch with. Once she recognizes him as the guy she sort of had an embarrassing encounter with & that he’s her BFF’s brother, the fun really begins haha! Josh is legit the complete opposite of Hazel & often looks upon her with awe although he’d never tell her as much 😂 Josh is reserved and quiet, he has a rough start in the beginning of this story as he navigates a long distance relationship gone cold. Josh is also traditional & very close to his parents who he hopes to one day take care of as the only son which is also a part of Korean culture. The moments Josh found himself admiring Hazel were some of my fave parts…

“I could never quite tell whether she was oblivious or just didn’t care what people thought, but no matter how chaotic she was, she always managed to give off an innocent, unintentionally wild vibe”

Emily- I realize I started this segment of my review talking about Emily for being such a FAB friend to Hazel & caring sister to Josh but she really does deserve her own spot here. Emily truly cares about Hazel & accepts her as she is. Knowing how different & sometimes vulnerable Hazel can be, seeing Emily talk to Josh and question him to make sure he doesn’t do something he may later regret was really indicative of the kind of friend she is.

“I think that’s the one thing that could dim her light. We both know Hazel is a butterfly. I think you have the power to take the dust from her wings.”

This being my first Christina Lauren read, I can now say it won’t be my last. I actually already have a copy of Roomies on deck I can’t wait to get to & I’m sure will also love. This was the perfect read this Summer & also a perfect pick for #SMUTATHON which was a read-a-thon hosted by Lainey from GingerReadsLainey & Riley from RileyMarie that was SOOO much fun to participate in! This book had me in stitches at some points while in others I was red in the face embarrassed for Hazel’s predicaments haha! It was a fun  slow burn/friends to lovers read that kept me flipping pages through the night. The two reasons I docked a star was for the fast paced ending that didn’t match the tempo of the book as a whole & made it feel a bit rushed. Lastly, there is a conversation that takes place where a character mentions how a homophobic slur was used. Although it’s made clear that it was used in a negative light, it did leave me bothered to read it on the page and made me question the need for it in this story. It didn’t really serve a purpose at all & it was someone who isn’t a character in this book who said to begin with…just seemed like something that could’ve either been challenged by a character in the book or just completely left out. Overall I HIGHLY enjoyed this book, characters, and writing! Christina Lauren has now joined the ranks of my fave Contemporary Romance authors & I will most certainly read whatever they write next 🖤

🦋 Quotes taken from ARC/pre-publication & may be subject to change


Hey Bookworms! This little Bookworm is struggling a little on day 1 of being back from vacay & would LOVE it if you could drop down into the comments with YOUR fave friends to lovers recommendations, I’d love you FOREVER! Well I already do but you know 💓


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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Blogs/Bookish Website

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This weeks topic is all about the showing love to your favorite Book Blogs/Webistes & I just LOVE this with all my 🖤!!! I have so many book blogs & book tubers as well that I go to for my daily fix. Lately its been a lot of Booktube cause life has been so unbelievably hectic but Book Blogs are my 1st true love! This past week I’ve been easing my way back into blog hopping & realize how much I’ve missed it all so this is the PERFECT time to show some love & also maybe interest you in following some (or all 😂) of these wonderful bookworm/content creators 💓

*These are in no particular order & it pained me to keep it to 10 cause I LOVE YOU ALL! 

August 14th: Favorite Book Blogs/Bookish Websites

🖤 Melanie @Meltotheany

Melanie is one of my FAVORITE people I’ve met through Book Blogging & hilarious Voice Notes! I really enjoy buddy reads with Mel & seeing her Fantasy recommendations, chances are if they have her seal of approval…I’m most likely going to love it hence why she’s my Book Twin, we don’t come across many of those in a lifetime so when we find one, we show them love! also, Mel has a keen eye for trigger content so you can always count on her to list them in her amazing reviews before venturing into something you’re feeling a bit hesitant about💓

🖤 Danielle @BooksVertigoandTea

This post couldn’t possibly go up without Danielle who is one of the sweetest & first Book Bloggers I came across when first joining this community. Danielle reviews a variety of genres & I can always count on her blog to find something new that may have possibly missed my radar.I LOVE her reviews of Tor Novellas and Sunday Wrap-Up’s. Most of all, Danielle is just one of those people you meet & just know THIS is a good human being 💓 Danny is on a break at the moment,sending her all the love & positivity💓

🖤 Larkin @ WonderfilledReads

Larkin, I have to meet this human one day! 💓 Not only does she get my humor but she reads all the books I stare at on my shelves (including Book of the Month 🙈) for no good reason other than my book buying addiction 😂 Larkin is probably one of the few book bloggers I know who really keeps up with Fantasy series and finishes them giving you well rounded reviews individually & as a whole. She also has AMAZING audiobook recommendations, I will NEVER tire of thanking her for getting me to pick up The Serpent King by Jeff Zetner 💔 Larkin also shares my love for all things Sci-Fi is overall just a pleasure to interact with 💓

🖤 Beth @ ReadingEveryNight

Beth 💓 my Book Twin in the U.K. who I trust whole heartedly & just know she would never steer me wrong with her wonderfully insightful reviews 🙌🏼 Beth like Danielle (see above) is also one of the first Bookworms I met in the Book Blogging community & the MOST welcoming! She is SUPER interactive with her subscribers and leaves such thoughtful comments that always bring a smile to face no matter when/where I’m reading them. Beth reviews YA books across all genres & also has some of the most beautiful travel posts/photos which she pairs with books! Beth can also bake & I’m just here waiting for those posts to come through 🤞🏼😂💓

🖤 Flavia @ FlaviaTheBibliophile

Ok Y’all! Guaranteed you all have that 1 blog you follow cause everything they post is just SOOOOO damn BEAUTIFUL!💓 Flavia’s Book Reviews, Beauty Hauls, #ARCstravaganza posts are LEGIT *Hearts in your eyes*  swoon worthy content!There’s honestly a little something for everyone & I just love visiting her blog cause it’s always a good time!Flavia is a sweetheart & is the friend to fangirl with you over books & movies any time!

🖤 Amy @ ACourtOfCrownsandQuills

Amy! The Book Gods made our paths cross & ever since then I’ve been blessed with some amazing Buddy Reads 💓 Amy also reviews YA Fantasy & a variety of other genres. We tend to have similar opinions on books & she also runs one of my FAVORITE Instagram accounts! which I personally go to for unboxings 🤗😍

🖤 Heather @ TheSassyBookGeek

Heather 💓 I’ve always wanted to know a Heather & then this wonderful human came across my blogging journey 😆 haha! I mostly read ARCS & that keeps me in the know of what’s coming to shelves in the near future. It’s not often I come across someone with a TBR that makes me sweat a little but heather’s does cause it often looks like mine & is a reminder that I NEED to get to reading STAT! Heather also reads across genres, has amazing reviews, and pulls no punches which I always appreciate when looking for recommendations💓

🖤 Taylor @ NerdNarration

Taylor 💓 all it took was for me to find her Nyxia by Scott Reintgen review & I just knew I had to befriend this beautiful Bookworm! They say I write some enthusiastic reviews for books that I love but Taylor got me beat! 😂 I love reading anything she posts because her personality bursts right through in her words, humor, and GIPHS! Taylor recently won my ARC Giveaway for Dear Evan Hansen over on Instagram & made my day getting her excitement through DM’s 🙌🏼😂🙌🏼 Nothing but positive vibes from Taylor’s corner 💓

🖤 Ashley @ SociallyAwkwardBookworm

Ashley 💓 Besides being a real sweetheart & having the most AMAZING cats with tons of personality & a dog I can’t get enough of! Ashley keeps me humble 🙈😂 She always has a set TBR with attainable goals & finds EPIC book deals on Kindle! LEGIT she is my #GOALS 💓 Ashley also loves photography & I love seeing the photos she takes, always vibrant & make me want to be better at my IG game 😂

🖤 Kelly @Kelly’sRambles

Kelly 💓 I LOVE Kelly’s blog & the fact that when I’m on the go, I can always count on her mini-reviews, Bookish event re-caps, & let’s face it…I’m always curious about her TBR cause not only does she read good books but at times they’re ones I haven’t heard of & she’s in the UK so the cover always pulls me in…I can go on & on but really don’t take my word for it & see for yourselves 😉


I’m currently working from home & this post has been a labor of love but I am SOOOO glad to have participated in this week’s topic! I even got on Instagram & posted a story on my appreciation for this community of Bookworms that have always been here for me when I really needed it 💜 10 is not enough to thank all those who faithfully like & comment my posts & just generally brighten my day! I love you all & hope to continue on this blogging journey for years to come 💓


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THE RAGING ONES BLOG TOUR!!!🚀

Title: THE RAGING ONES

Author: Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

Pub. Date: August 14th. 2018

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 352

Content Warnings: Physical Violence, Torture, Suicidal Thoughts and Drug Use

*Thank you Wednesday Books for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest opinion

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

The Raging Ones truly caught me by surprise in that I wasn’t expecting it to make me the 4th person in the bond our main protagonists share! Told in multiple POV, we get introduced to Court Icecastle and Mykal Kickfall first as they’re preparing to enroll for consideration into the Space Program that would allow them  to keep their secret. In a world where everyone is given their Death Day at the time of their birth, there are also classifications:

Influentials: their life expectancy surpasses 100 years of age which marks them for greatness. They get the best educations because it is believed their contributions to the world are of high value. Most are adopted into families in other countries that can provide them with as much. Influentials are the elite, wealthy, and basically V.I.P.’s in this world.

Fast Trackers: have a life expectancy between 13-29 years of age. When born they are returned to their mothers to live free & fun lives. They are most commonly recognized for their colorful hair, piercings, slang, addiction to certain drugs…they live fast & hard in the little time they have.

Babes: life expectancy is between infancy and 12 years of age. They also are returned to their mothers to live innocent lives never leaving their childhood.

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Court Icecastle is a Fast Tracker raised by Influentials, he is able to pass as a Influential himself and hopes to use this as a way into the StarDust Space program. Court Icecastle’s Death Day has come & gone leaving him very much alive with many questions and much more guilt. To make matters even more interesting, Court is bonded to Mykal Kickfall. Bonded in a way that lets them feel everything the other is feeling no matter the distance. Mykal has also survived past his Death Day & life brings these two together, Mykal a “Babe” comes from a distant land. He’s had a completely different upbringing & is a bit rough around the edges. Court makes it his mission to educate & train Mykal who he is now connected to for the StarDust enrollment exams. Years pass & the date quickly approaches for the entrance exam when all of a sudden both Court & Mykal feel a third connection. Franny Bluecastle is at deaths door when her connection to Court & Mykal activates. Franny a Fast Tracker living fast & hard is ready to die, it’s her Death Day after all and all she wants is to spend her savings on a room in one of the most well known hotels for V.I.P’s. Things don’t go quite as planned for Franny who is overcome with emotions, thoughts, feelings, and sensations that are not her own when she meets Court and Mykal. From this point on it’s edge of your seat, pulse pounding action with a Romance to satisfy all those who live for that A+ TOP quality angst! *need more 🤗*

Court Icecastle- has a ton of secrets, never smiles, and carries a whole lot of pain buried deep within. Court is a Fast Tracker who can pass for a Influential and really only has 1 goal in mind. That is until he meets Mykal, it’s more than just a bond…Mykal is his soulmate & there are reasons for which he can’t quite act on these feelings 😉

Mykal Kickfall- A Babe who lived past his death date & comes from a land where people still hunt for their food. He’s most comfortable in the outdoors chopping wood. Mykal is all physical strength but he also has a HUGE heart & in it he’s managed to find a special place for Court. I LOVE MYKAL TO PIECES! he accepts Court as he is but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy trying to get him to smile 💓 Also, Mykal is the one to come running whenever he smells danger to either Court or Franny, fiercely over protective in the best of ways!

Franny Bluecastle- A Fast Tracker who pretty much fits all of the stereo types known for FT’s & doesn’t know what to make of being linked to Mykal & Court. She has a different relationship with them both & I love that she never gives up on Court when it comes to getting him to lower his walls.

There’s so much to love in The Raging Ones but my favorite aspects of this book had to do with the bond these three shared. It wasn’t just talked about,   Krista & Becca Ritchie took us through the good, bad, and the ugly with these characters. The moments that should remain private but instead are shared 3 ways and the complications that arise when they come into physical contact with one another. The confusion that comes into play when you have 3 different personalities feeling everything the other is feeling and wondering if that was your own emotion or not. The world building was A++ and by describing each of the different types of people in this world we got a more fleshed out look as to what’s valued most & what is considered expendable. The romance is by far one of my favorites this year!!! there is so much angst for some very valid reasons but I was seriously shipping hard at the start of this book! Underneath it all, we also get a look at a society intent on putting their eggs all in 1 basket…in the hands of Influentials. All others are seen as lesser than because of the short lives they are destined to live. The ending left me with eyes WIDE open! to say that I am HIGHLY anticipating the sequel has to be the understatement of the year! I can’t wait to be reunited with Court, Franny, and Mykal & see what and where their adventure takes them next…


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Spoiler Free Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Title: The Wedding Date

Author:Jasmine Guillory

Pub. Date: January 30th. 2018

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Publisher: Berkley

Format: eBook/Kindle

Buddy Read: Melanie from Meltotheany

Pages: 320

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

   

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Everyone loves a good elevator story amiright? haha! I know I do, especially when it’s one that tackles the fake dating trope. Such is the case with The Wedding Date where we meet Alexa, a young lawyer who is the Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Berkeley California as she’s visiting her sister in L.A. Alexa’s sister just so happens to be staying at the same hotel Drew Nichols our other love interest is staying in while getting ready to attend his ex girlfriend’s wedding…yeah I know, first red flag. Alexa & Drew get stuck in the elevator and pass the time eating crackers & wine from Alexa’s purse while they wait for assistance. Instant chemistry between them leads Drew to asking Alexa to help him out of a jam…can she be his date to the wedding? For Alexa who doesn’t typically do chance encounters, it’s a little out of character when she accepts to go along with the fake dating plan to help this poor handsome fella. They spend the weekend pretend dating & as one can imagine, real feelings started to spark. This all kind of had to slow down a bit when they realized Alexa has to return to Cali where she has a career she loves. Drew is bound by his pager as a Pediatric Surgeon who also loves his job. We then go on a series of weekend visits from Cali to L.A. while these two hard-working profesionals try to keep it casual (key word is try haha). We get to know Alexa a lot more through the work she has a deep passion for. Helping provide the resources in the community for underprivileged teens. We touch on white privilege and the difference in perspective when it comes to authority. This isn’t your standard fluffy contemporary, TWD has depth & Alexa is to me the definition of a phenomenal woman!

Alexa- I absolutely LOVE Alexa to pieces! No only she is she smart, curvy, and unknowingly sexy…she’s also very passionate about helping give teenagers the resources they need within their communities. Places they can go to for mentoring, culture, the arts. Most importantly giving minority teens second chances. Alexa is a woman of color who knows what racism looks like & checking Drew for his privilege is something she does not shy away from.

Drew- Not my favorite love interest, not even a smidge 😂 I seriously tried with Drew. It was almost like I had to tell myself Alexa likes him so you need to like him…NOPE! Drew is not only arrogant at times, I also feel he doesn’t appreciate Alexa. He’s also very quick to throw in the towel & go seek attention. Also, I do wish he’d shown more interest in Alexa’s work & passion that goes beyond asking how her day went or wishing her good luck. He has a very privileged perspective & after seeing Alexa take interest in helping one of his patients I just felt like she brought more to the table in compassion & just as a human being. I love my girl Alexa though lol, so whatever makes her happy!

Carlos- The BFF I wish every dude had! I legit jumped for joy when I heard Carlos was getting his own book (The Proposal) & that I had gotten approved for a galley! *hooray* I have a feeling I’m going to LOVE it! Carlos is respectful & a ride or die BFF while still telling you when you’re wrong! he put Drew in check a few times in regards to his treatment of Alexa.

Maddie- Ok so we don’t get much of this character but I still appreciate the small role she played in being there for Alexa. Nowadays it’s hella hard to find a BFF that will make sure you don’t go out looking a hot mess! it’s much easier to fine frenemies tbh but Maddie made sure her girl Alexa brough her A game when they went out & that’s what I consider #BFFGOALS

I loved how realistic & relatable Alexa & Drew’s story read, it may not be common occurrence to get stuck on an elevator with your next love interest but I’m referring to everything else. From demanding careers to issues & differences interracial couples may experience (i’m Latinx married to a black man) when getting to know each other. I appreciated this book so much for the themes that played out & the awareness it brings in regards to socioeconomic differences and the lack of resources for underprivileged teens. Second chances for teenagers who fall into bad crowds but have so much potential to do more if only there was a place they could go to for some guidance. The light that it shines on the mentality that these teens should be written off as a loss & move on was cold but so true that it hurt. I loved seeing Alexa in her career fighting for what she was passionate about. Guillory doesn’t just tell you here’s a strong woman for a protagonist, she shows you a fierce woman in her element slaying it!


Hello Bookworms! I am re-living my experience with The Wedding Date through this review & LOVING it! Have you read this one? have it on your TBR? thinking of picking up The Proposal? How do you feel about a Carlos POV?Sound off in the comments down below <3’s!


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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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