May Wrap-Up

This Month’s Wrap-Up comes to you very late & that’s honestly more because I’ve been going back & forth with the idea of eliminating my wrap-ups as a whole. I’ve been easing my way back in from a huge blogging slump and content has been on my mind a whole lot lately. Whelp! this is up mid June which means I decided to keep them but there will be some changes. I’ve been here for 2 years now and found that I really enjoy getting to know the bloggers behind the posts. I love reading a good wrap-up that gives me the 411 on the highlights some of my favorite bloggers experienced throughout the month. The bloggers who talk about the books they read, movies & tv watched, foods cooked/restaurants visited (extra lurking when baking is thrown in), travel, and anything really that gives me a better sense of the person behind the blog.

So I guess this means I’ll be sharing a little more of me on the blog on my Wrap-ups for now. This isn’t as easy as it sounds since I don’t really enjoy talking about me lol but sometimes breaking out of your comfort zones can be a good thing? this is what I’m going with haha! I’ve also been bitten by the travel bug which means future travel posts may be a thing as well. I hope you enjoy getting to know the bit of me that I do share here, especially since there are quite a few new bloggers subscribed. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you so *exhale* onto this Wrap-up…

Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas #2) (5 STARS) This sequel was EVERYTHING! finished it last week & it’s still on my mind. If by any chance you enjoyed Labyrinth Lost but it possibly didn’t blow you away…this is the sequel to do just that for you! not to mention the epic world expansion. Currently eyeing Zoraida’s Twitter for any kernel of news on book 3 smh 🙂

Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over (4 STARS) Cute & fluffy were just what I needed when I picked this one up and it did its thing haha!

MIRAGE (5 STARS) (Review to come next week)

Picture Us In The Light (5 STARS) I was very happy to have been invited to participate in the blog tour for this poignant read! this is one that has something for everyone and leaves you with a little hope but not before breaking your heart 😉

Nyxia: Unleashed (5 STARS) the author of this book Scott Reintgen is fully aware of how badly I want that last book in this trilogy, I hide nothing about my love for these books! honestly, if you’re looking for an AMAZING YA Sci-Fi look no further! the diversity is strong, the action intense, plot full of twists, female characters empowered & respected…I can go on & on but only ask that you pick this one up and see for yourselves cause it is SOOOO worth it!

CORRUPT (Devil’s Night #1) (4 STARS) I don’t really review NA on this blog but I think going forward I will leave some thoughts on Goodreads (link at the end of this post). I was recommended this book by my wonderful friend Melanie from Meltotheany & I’m now a full fledged Penelope Douglas fan! I will read anything she writes grocery list included bahhha! jk…not really smh. This is a very dark NA & there are a ton of trigger warnings Melanie lists on her review here. I will say this, if you’re looking for full fledged smut…this may not be the author for you lol. Douglas enjoys making her MC’s torture each other with epic long waiting/mind games but when it gets going it is A+ my friends! 😉

The month of May let me squeeze in two flicks at the theater & those were Avengers: Infinity War & Deadpool 2.

Image result for Avengers: Infinity War

    

Infinity War did NOT disappoint & it was a fun time watching all of my favorites come together for this AMAZING movie! perhaps most surprising of all was the complexity & depth of the villain Thanos. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy his story line so much but I did & it made me really appreciate how that took the story to the next level. Of course there was some heartbreak along the way with some losses but I’m still very excited to see the next chapter cause THAT ending *raises eyebrow* haha!

Image result for Deadpool 2

   

Not quite the 5 stars in my book & that came as a surprise cause I am a HUGE fan of Ryan Reynolds. The first Deadpool was effortlessly funny in my opinion but this one was laying it on to thick which made it seem to me as if they were trying to hard to keep up his rep for baddest mouth in the Marvel Universe. However, the second half was epic for many spoilery reasons so I’ll leave that out. I will say that I enjoyed the addition of Zazie Beetz as Domino and Josh Brolin as Cable (pictured above). Also, THAT ending threw me for a whirlwind but then again I should’ve expected that from the MCU 🙂

May was such a hectic month & reading 6 books was a feat cause my mind was in a million different places as was I hehe. Some of you may already know this, I am a mom of 2 tiny humans ages 4 & 7 and so that meant celebrating Mother’s Day was in the plans. I had this amazing breakfast cooked up my sister & hubby and some awesome gifts from said tiny humans and hubby. Had a wonderful dinner at this Japanese Steak place in Brooklyn called SALT + CHARCOAL. Their steak was AMAZING but I only ended up with a photo of their “green tea” cake which wasn’t my favorite at all but they put some effort into the presentation so…

I also came home to a package from hubby with the entire Mother’s Day LUSH collection which smells amazing & had some kick ass super hero bombs in it! I’m a scent LOVER & these all were the PERFECT gift that keeps on giving cause HELLO! ME TIME! baths + books = BEST LIFE!

The last week of May saw us take a road trip to Virginia to spend the holiday weekend with some family. Although I didn’t get to take pics cause we were having so much fun in the moment we all ditched our phones smh. I really do wish I had taken some photos of our bowling competition and trip to a sea side restaurant in the rain that was….interesting haha! I did however get a photo of my new haircut the day before we hit the road so I’ll just leave that down here…#shorthairdontcare

I’d like to say that the madness stopped in May but the very next weekend we got back from VA, there was BEA & Bookcon…


We are 6 days away from the first day of Summer & already life feels both lighter and busier all at the same time <3’s! I hope you’re all having an amazing month reading, watching, doing all of the lovely things! ❤


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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”

Images from Pinterest, not my own

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: Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

Title: Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2)

Author: Scott Reintgen

Pub. Date: July 17th, 2018

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 400

Format: eGalley

Content Warning Provided by the wonderful Melaniemurder, death, gore, blood, violence, depiction of PTSD, abandonment, kidnapping, torture, animal death, talk of past outing, talk of past homophobia, genocide, colonization, loss of a loved one, loss of a friend, and war themes

Buddy Read: Melanie from Meltotheany

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*HUGE thanks to Crown Books for Young Readers and Scott Reintgen for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

    

Last year I won a Twitter giveaway for Nyxia & I didn’t really know much about the book other than it was Sci-fi & I dig sci-fi so it couldn’t hurt throwing my hat in the ring. I also attended Bookcon last year & remember standing right in front of Scott Reintgen’s table as he set up for a signing & again, I had no idea what for…hadn’t won the contest just yet. Well *sigh* I did read the book & I also gently kicked myself afterwards for not having read it sooner & missing my grand opportunity to talk Scott’s ear off about book 2!

Nyxia remains one of my favorite YA Sci-Fi books & you can check out my spoiler free GUSH review (here) but Nyxia Unleashed has definitely taken over the mantle, Scott Reintgen delivered & I couldn’t be happier with this sequel! well…I could but I’m reserving that for book 3! Now onto this GUSH review…

We start off right where we left off and that means there’s a ton of hurt and pain to last a lifetime. The events from Nyxia have left Emmett and his friends rattled and looking over their shoulders. The corporation known as Babel who they’ve basically signed their lives away to in exchange for financial stability for themselves and each of their families, has many secrets. They’ve all been through the ringer Hunger Games style in the first book & are now realizing that “Space Exploration” and mining of the Nyxia substance found on the planet they’ve been shipped off too, isn’t Babels real agenda. They’re also realizing that for all the rigorous training Babel put them through, it’s not quite enough when faced with the actual dangers and species on the foreign planet Eden.

“I’m always surprised when people expect me to not notice the little details. So many lies are like badly buried bodies, just waiting for a little rain to unearth them.”

We meet the “Adamites” who inhabit Eden and have a working relationship with Babel. In exchange for access to the Nyxia naturally grown in Eden, the Adamites asked for Babel to send them only their youth. Teens like Emmett and his friends, the reason given is that their planet has no youth left. Females are almost all extinct and therefore no children have been born in recent years. If you’re raising an eyebrow at this…you are NOT alone! I was suspicious of them all the way til’ the very end! you just never know with these Sci-Fi books if they’re trying to steal your organs #jussayin haha! with the introduction of the Adamites we get layers of world building & Adamite culture from the foods they eat to their social class construct. I am a sucker for world building, details, and just about anything that can make a world come alive on the page & transport me right into its midst. Reintgen not only continued to deliver on some of the BEST character development to hit the page, he also expanded the world tenfold and in the process hooked me in once more. We also get discussion on colonization, corporal punishment, the broken prison system here on Earth, and structural racism.   Food for thought is always welcome especially when it mirrors much of our current day lives. Emmett has trained himself to observe as opposed to reacting right away & so we get to follow his train of thought as he realizes the similarities between Eden and Earth.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Babel’s out here playing the role of colonizer, slapping labels on the originals and pretending they created it all in the first place. It’s pretty standard procedure for folks like them.”

One of the things I love the most about this trilogy is the dialogue. From the author bio we get that some of the research for these characters came from Reintgen’s experience in the classrooms he teaches in. The language is authentic and flows very easily with a ton of personality infused in each and every one of the characters. This is a big cast & yet I always knew who was saying what just by how well fleshed out they all are. Our MC Emmett shares the leadership spotlight with his love interest Morning who is a take charge Alpha personality not really waiting to be given the reigns. I LOVED seeing these two in action & just how respectful Emmett is of Morning, he admires her strengths and bravado. Morning in turn takes a very protective role over  Emmett. It wasn’t made to be Emmett coming to her rescue, Morning got him out of quite a few jams. Each has different strengths in character but both bring out the best in those they cross paths with. There’s a recurrent theme all throughout this sequel of a sense of shedding their innocence. They aren’t doing “normal” teen things and Emmett is very much aware of this when he self reflects. The humility is still very much there, kept alive through flashbacks of conversations with his father who sort of plays a side characters in the shadows. For the most part all of these characters have a past heavy with burden and pain, injustice and poverty. It’s their desire to want more for those they love that keep them in the game…

“My whole life’s been rough, but somewhere I picked up the idea that it wasn’t supposed to be that way. I don’t know where I learned about justice, when I started thinking I deserved something more. There’s a part of me that knows, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that the world is supposed to be better, more.”

One thing is for certain, these characters are much stronger together than apart. I am so ready to see how certain relationships play out in the next book and whether they will endure whatever comes their way. This was such a fun read, these characters feel so familiar and alive that it really does feel like seeing old friends again after some time has passed. I am more than looking forward to returning to this cast of characters but for now I’ll just live vicariously through my hubby who will be starting Nyxia next 🙂

“We walk together, shoulders touching, like we’re walking home from school on a normal day. But that’s not reality. Reality is a new world. Reality is two moons hanging in the sky, bright and beckoning. Reality is what we’re leaving behind as we move through an empty forest and out into a world that feels full of ghosts.”

*Quotes have been taken from ARC and may differ from the final publication.


Nyxia Unleashed the sequel to Nyxia by Scott Reintgen will hit the shelves July 17th!!! & your girl has already pre-ordered a copy. All I need now is some fan art, bookmarks, candles, the works inspired by this trilogy fathom?!?! 😉


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early

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.

I’ve had these 10 drafted for the past two weeks now cause they’re simply the books I’m MOST eagerly anticipating! I have a feeling I will be making some of these wishes come true but for now 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼

May 1st 2018: Top Ten Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early

🦁 What If It’s Us by Adam SilveraSelf appointed #1 Adam Silvera fan, there really isn’t anything he writes that I won’t read! I go in knowing my heart will be torn to pieces but there really isn’t anyone I’d let break my ♥ like I let Adam 🤷🏻‍♀️ This being a collab with his bff Becky Albertalli makes it easily one of those books I have a feeling will be a 5 star read 🙌🏼

🦁 City Of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab– Three reasons for which I need this book…. One: being that it’s Victoria Schwab & I can’t stay away from her books…Two: this book is set in Scotland which is one of my FAVE book settings…Three: Ghost-hunters 👻 that is all I needed to know 💜

🦁 King Of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo- Its been a minute since I read the Grisha trilogy but there’s one character that remains fresh in my memory. Nikolai in my opinion stole the show when he showed up & I knew there had to be more to his story. SUPER stoked to see the cover reveal today, EVERYTHING GOLD! I can’t wait to have a copy in hands since from what I’ve heard, there won’t be any arcs in circulation *sobs* haha!

🦁 On The Come Up by Angie Thomas- The Hate U Give had to be one of the most impactful, moving, and thought provoking books of 2017. Soon after I was buying copies for my closest friends & loved ones in hopes they’d see just how important Angie Thomas’ books are. Some have expressed concerns over the date of publication for On The Come Up being pushed back however, I think it’s a smart move. Production on The Hate U Give movie wasn’t without its hurdles & some distance between the projects is probably for the best. Nevertheless, I cannot wait to dive back into this wonderful authors writing.

🦁 Dark Age (Red Rising Saga #5) by Pierce Brown-  Having recently read Iron Gold, finding out that book 5 would be out later this year was EPIC news! Can’t say too much about this one since it’s way deep into the series, but I will say that it feels great to be back in this world even when certain characters continue to royally mess things up.

🦁 The Winter Of The Witch (The Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden- Katherine Arden is after my own heart with some of the most beautiful atmospheric writing I’ve ever come across on the page. The MC Vasya is one of my all time fave heroines who reminds me so much of Merida from Brave 💜 This is the conclusion to the Winternight Trilogy & although I’m not ready to say goodbye, I also really need to know what happens next!

🦁 Blanca & Roja by Anna Marie-McLemore- EVERYTHING McLemore writes is a MUST for this bookworm! magical realism at its best, it’s so hard to stay away from these books. I fell in love with this authors writing while reading When The Moon Was Ours & I can honestly say, I’ve never read anything that quite compares. All of McLemore’s books have LGBTQIA+ representation and POC main characters. I know I’ve said this for all the others but this is one I’m SOOOOO ready to get my hands on 🤗

🦁 Holy Sister (Book Of The Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence- Having just very recently read Grey Sister (Book Of The Ancestor #2) I can honestly say this is is my FAVORITE adult Fantasy! although seeing it end will be bitter-sweet, I have felt very much a part of Nona’s journey & can’t wait to see how her story comes to a close.

🦁 The ShadowGlass (The Bone Witch #3) by Rain Chupeco- eeeeK! I can’t even see the title of this book on the screen without flailing with happiness 🤗 this is perhaps the book I’d slay TWO lions for! 😂 It’s just SOOO good! Rin Chupeco’s writing is just a atmospheric as Katherine Ardens & just as beautiful. The main character Tea is one of my fave morally ambiguous MC’s & the ship in this book! *swooooooN*☺ oh & if you’re looking for a fantasy with a necromancer, this would be the book for you! 😉

🦁 Sea Witch by Sarah Henning- Hi! I’m Lilly & ever since I could remember, The Little Mermaid has been my favorite Disney movie of all time! haha! no seriously though, I obsessed over this movie. Did I ever think Ursula would get her own POV story? hell nah! evil sea Queens never get to tell their side of things. That being said, I read To Kill a Kingdom recently & LOVED the ish outta that dark gem! Sea Witch looks just as promising & I’m hoping it slayyyyyys my little ♥️! 


Happy Tuesday Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful week reading all the great books! What are some of the titles you’d slay a lion to get a early copy of? feel free to drop those links to your Top Ten Tuesday 💜💜💜

Friendly reminder, I have a Giveaway for Dread Nation by Justina Ireland running from 4/30/18-5/4/18. This giveaway is open to International peeps as well (See Here) 💙💙💙


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Spoiler Free Review & Giveaway: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Title: Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1)

Author: Justina Ireland

Pub. Date: April 3rd, 2018

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Paranormal

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper

Pages: 455

Format: eGalley

*HUGE thanks to Balzer + Bray/Harper, Edelweiss and Justina Ireland for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

    

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

Ever pick up a book & you just know it’s going to be a 5 star read?!?! that was the case with this magnificent a** kicking, no-holds-barred, social commentary, read between the lines EPICNESS of a a book! It is not a re-telling although it definitely does allude to it’s namesake. I read a interview on Bustle with Justina Ireland where she says the following of her inspiration…

“I wrote [Dread Nation] many moons ago, after I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” Justina Ireland tells Bustle. “Sure, you have well-to-do white women fighting, but it didn’t seem realistic. It would’ve been black women fighting in the streets.”

I happen to have really enjoyed Pride Prejudice and Zombies but I’d be lying if I didn’t say Dread Nation is now my FAVORITE spin on an all time favorite classic!

We meet Jane while at Miss Preston’s School Of Combat as she is training towards her graduation date. Upon completion, girls from this school are purchased to work for rich white women as their attendants. An Attendant is specially trained to kill Shamblers aka zombies. It is believed that black people have a stronger immune system to combat the bite of a zombie however, we do still see some who are turned after being bitten just not as many. Nothing about enrollment in this school is voluntary, the Native and Negro Reeducation Act is basically a round-up of black & Native children to do all the Shambler killing in defense of white people. Right from the start I knew Jane was going to be one of my all time favorite characters. We get to know Jane through her inner dialogue & the commentary she makes on the society they live in which mirrors our own current day in many ways. Jane is not someone who can easily be sold a dream, she’s very aware of the realities of her world and could care less about manners & etiquette. These are all things Jane knows are used as a method of control by white people in power. Nonetheless she continues her studies with some pushback here & there, in order to make her mother back in Kentucky happy. Jane is training in Baltimore & every chance she gets she writes her mother. The letters range in emotion & were meant to keep her mom updated on her training, these were a nice touch in between chapters & I found myself looking forward to the next correspondence.

The Mayor of Baltimore has led everyone to believe that the city has rid itself of the Shambler epidemic & its citizens are finally safe. Jane soon starts piecing together the pieces of the puzzle & realizes just how perilous the situation is in the cities on the East side of the United States. We see Philly, Baltimore, Maryland all affected but our story doesn’t just take place on the east coast. We see a shift to the West Coast & get a taste of frontier life but it’s also the setting for which the white people in this book see opportunity to digress to the times before slavery was abolished.  This book at its core is about slavery & the different forms it may be disguised as but in the end it’s all the same. There were many lines in this book that I found myself having to re-read saying to myself….”where have I heard this before?” when the answer is all around me, it serves as a reminder of the world we live in. We have a long ways to go…

In Jane we have a strong black woman who tries to mind her mothers advice but will always follow her heart in standing up for what she believes in. She’s not for one second going to forget anyone who does her wrong, she had me rooting for her from page 1. Dread Nation also gave us one unlikely sidekick in Katherine, another girl training to be an attendant. Katherine is described as being “passing white” which was explored throughout the book. The guilt that comes along with being someone who is passing white as well as Colorism experienced by many. Jane herself battles internally with the thoughts she has on Katherine’s pretty features, often times reminding herself it’s not Katherine’s fault she was born that way. I honestly feel this gave Jane a more realistic feel, she isn’t perfect and she holds a ton of compassion inside not out for display. Katherine is the opposite of Jane in that she really does try to follow all of the rules and lives for proper manners & etiquette. I had so many laugh out loud moments seeing Katherine refuse to battle w/out her constricting corset. The friendship between Jane & Katherine is what I want to see in YA! they may have been frenemies at one point but they have each others back when differences are cast aside. We also see sexuality touched upon with Jane possibly being bi-sexual, not 100% sure since she didn’t identify as such but does express attraction to females & having kissed a girl. We also have a character who may be asexual & expresses no desire to be in a relationship or have romantic feelings towards anyone. The inclusion of characters on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum is very much appreciated by this bookworm! 💜

Reading Dread Nation had me on a serious rollercoaster ride of emotions and I really wasn’t expecting it to be this type of read. I had a couple of outright angry moments at the mentality the white people in this book carry. It really is no different from many in our real world. Many scenes led me to feel such profound sadness at the injustice of it all. Ultimately I cam away empowered by this read, I do believe we need more books like this one. More authors like Justina Ireland so that the uncomfortable truths of the world are laid bare & change is brought about. Make no mistake, this isn’t just a book about zombies. This book carries a message & will leave such an impact on you if you read it with an open mind and a willingness to take off those rose colored glasses.


It’s been a minute since I did a Giveaway on the blog but I was inspired after I finished Dread Nation & just want to get more bookworms reading & loving it as much as I did! well at least I hope y’all do 😆🤞🏼 I do hope to have more Giveaways coming your way soon so stay tuned for that 😉 

1 Winner will receive a hardcover copy of Dread Nation by Justina Ireland! 
  • Giveaway dates: 4/30/2018-5/4/2018
  • Since this giveaway will be open to my INTERNATIONAL bookish peeps as well, all you need is a valid mailing & email address that you are willing to share with me
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Follow my blog of course  (i’ll be checking loves)
  • Simply comment down below that you’d like to be entered & it shall be done

For Additional entries


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WWW Wednesday 4/11/18

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

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

I’m currently in the midst of getting my blogging mojo back which is why you’re getting this post later in the day/night. I wanted to update you wonderful bookworms on my reading since that hasn’t been affected by my blogging slump. Thankfully, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel & have already started making my rounds on your blogs spreading my 💜! 

Ace of Shadows (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody

I am currently 70% into Ace of Shades & REALLY enjoying the read. I went in a bit hesitant after reading some not so great reviews on Goodreads. Truthfully speaking, if you’re going into this book comparing it to Six of Crows then you’re basically setting yourself up for disappointment cause that’s one hella high standard. That being said, there are some aspects that reminded me of Six of Crows in the same manner that SOC reminded me a bit of Ocean’s Eleven. I LOVE mobster stories (think Gangs of New York) & so this was one I knew I had to request from the Publisher while holding my breath haha! So far, I am loving so much of this story that I doubt the remaining 30% will change my mind. The LGBTQIA+ representation is STRONG in Ace! ❤  but I’ll go into more of that in my upcoming review 😉

My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, an Brodi Ashton

Starting this MUCH anticipated follow-up TONIGHT! & I just cannot wait to leave the office aka The Dungeon…and snuggle up on the couch with this book! fave blanket and all *eeeeK* I expect to be giggling and straight out laughing out loud all through the night 🙂

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence

FLAWLESS! Couldn’t have asked for a better sequel. This book had a little of everything & some dark humor thrown in the mix. I will forever be a fan of Nona & watching her character growth along the way has been quite the roller coaster ride (my spoiler free review here). 

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

On Monday I finished a buddy read of The Wicked Deep & this book is still haunting my every thought! it was just so damn good! I have  full review coming on the blog but in the mean time, please check out two of the lovely bookworms I buddy read with who have posted their reviews 🙂

Melanie @ Meltotheany & Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Ever since discovering Lagertha & Ragnar on Vikings…I haven’t been able to resist anything Viking related. I’m hoping to find yet another bad a** heroine to love 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼 also, I’ll be buddy reading Sky in the Deep with Melanie @ Meltotheany & Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills this weekend *super stoked* 


I hope you’re all having a wonderful Wednesday & loving your current reads! If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear your thoughts 💜


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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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Review: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi

Title: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1)

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Pub. Date: March 6th, 2018

Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy

Publisher: Macmillan/FierceReads

Pages: 525

Format: Physical ARC

*Maji Clan Quiz at the end of my review*

*HUGE thanks to Macmillan/FierceReads and Tomi Adeyemi for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

    

Its been 2 weeks since I finished what I consider the BEST Fantasy book I have EVER read for a multitude of reasons. I cried some real tears reading this beautiful book, within its pages I found familiar names that have always carried weight in my childhood & made this reading experience all the more special. Now let’s see if I can do this justice & get you to read this EPIC masterpiece…

Our story is set in the land of Orïsha where King Saran has worked very hard to wipe out the magic inherited by the Maji. Maji once walked the land in abundance, they were said to have received their magic aka Ashe from Sky Mother. Healers, Earth shakers, Mind connectors, Tiders with the power to control the waters,  and  Reapers who can raise the dead are just some of the few types of Maji to have walked the lands. This all changed when a group of rebel Maji killed the King’s first family. In a bloody event known as “The Raid” all Maji above the age of 13 were ordered to be killed by the King. Our MC Zélie’s mother, a Reaper is dragged out in chains and hung in the village for all to see. The connection between the Maji & Sky Mother is broken and efforts are put in place to destroy the magical pieces with the power to restore the Maji’s Ashe.

Young Zélie remembers this day as if it were yesterday well into her young adult years & it is the fuel that propels her throughout this story. In stressing the importance of eliminating the threat Maji pose & by instilling fear, the King has managed to keep Maji in poverty. Expected to pay a higher tax or face labor camps that are the equivalent of slavery, Maji’s are opressed & forced to come up with ways to survive on a daily basis. It is during one of Zélie’s trips to the market that her whole world gets turned upside down.

We are introduced to King Saran, the Queen, Prince/heir Inan, and Princess Amari. The Kings efforts to keep his second family away from all Maji are nixed once Princess Amari realizes her fathers cruel & murderous ways. Running away from the palace with a highly valuable scroll, Princes Amari crosses paths with Zélie placing them both on the path to try & restore magic to all Maji…

 

Children Of Blood and Bone features a large cast of strong characters down to the supporting cast. Below I’ve listed the main players in this story however, there is a wealth of supporting characters contributing greatly to our main MC’s journey. There are NO weak links, these characters come to life on the page with vivid descriptions & personalities. Told in multiple POV, each chapter is broken down from Zélie, Amari, and Inan’s perspectives. We get to know their most intimate thoughts & see them battle their inner demons. These characters come scarred, they hold a lot of pain & their journey is hard & filled with loss. The entire cast are POC (people of color) & through their eyes Adeyemi tackles some of the toughest topics such as oppression, colorism, and slavery. These characters aren’t the ones to quickly flee your memory…they’re the type to set up shop in your mind & your heart.

Zélie- Our MC has seen & experienced a plethora of pain since seeing her mother killed at the age of six. Zélie really has no filter & has no tolerance for the injustice the King’s guards often bring to the village people. She knows her outspoken nature can potentially place her family at risk for violence however, the need & compulsion to speak up seems almost involuntary. She is a warrior in every sense of the word, her passion & love for a magic she has only slightly ever felt is stronger than her life-force. Zélie remembered a time when Maji had their Ashe and used it to help those in need. Her journey however, will make her confront all of the pain she carries. With Zélie we get raw power & a love for her people and the deities they are descended from.

Tzain- A better bigger brother could NOT exist! Tzain is described as being physically strong and handsome but it’s his fierce need to protect his sister and their father that is his driving force. I LOVE sibling relationships in books but when they’re as close as these two are, my heart fully embraces them. Adeyemi doesn’t just show us the good, she gives us the fighting as well & the genuine love between two siblings who are as close as they are.

Amari- at first glance she may seem like the pampered princess who hasn’t experienced any pain however Amari will prove readers wrong. Perhaps one of my most fave characters in this book because of her personal growth, Amari goes through an awakening of sorts. The blinds are lifted early on & the decision she makes really speak to the type of person she really is. By the end of the book you fully understand why it was necessary for this character to be a part of the journey. I’m super curious & excited to see Amari in the sequel.

Inan- I had such a love/hate relationship with Prince Inan…moments where I felt I understood his mentality & others where I wanted to talk some sense into him. I honestly found him to be quite unpredictable & that scared me with regards to him being a love interest for Zélie. I wanted so badly to love this character but ultimately I couldn’t trust him & I can’t really say his intentions were ever malicious. His love for the people in the kingdom & his inbred fear of the Maji is so much greater than the love he has for anyone. This is a Prince who wants nothing more than to earn the respect of his father the King. He’s constantly at war with himself & the irony that strikes him is just ingenious!

Honorable Mentions-Mama Agba is introduced early on in the story as the owner to a seamstress shop which really serves as a front for a training school for young Maji. The wisdom this character imparts on Zélie in regards to knowing when to fight back & when to speak up struck a chord…for those  who are familiar with the Black Lives Matter movement, there will be many scenes that align with our real world. It was hard seeing Zélie try to fight down the urge to not speak out of line or face brutality from the King’s guards. Zélie’s father although he doesn’t get much page time made me shed my first tears on what would be a tear filled reading experience. A broken spirit who breaks through his grief to encourage Zélie to fight back!

Oya- Zelie’s Sister Deity-Image obtained from Pinterest/Flickr

The Deities- Zélies sister Deity is Oya who was rewarded with mastery over life however, when shared with her worshippers it transformed to power over death & this is how Reapers came about. Throughout the book we learn of the different Deities and their descendant clans. Although we never hear them speak, they are a driving force in the story. Zélie has a deep devotion to Oya who she feels deeply connected to & so we see her more than any of the others.

I can honestly go on for days talking about the richness in culture and religion Children of Blood and Bone brought to the table & I still wouldn’t scratch the surface. Steeped in African culture & mythology, COBAB is not your typical YA Fantasy…it takes Fantasy to a whole other level! & is everything I could’ve ever asked for. From the Yoruba language to the West African foods, and beautifully vibrant Dashiki’s we get so much more from this reading experience because it’s influenced by a culture that already exists. Some of the obstacles our MC’s face in COBAB are real life issues encountered on a daily basis by young black men & women in the real world.   On the topic of the spiritual deities we get a dose of religious diversity, in COBAB the land is called Orisha however in Nigeria, South America, and the Caribbeans Orisha’s are the actual spiritual deities themselves. In these pages I found names of Orishas I grew up learning about all throughout my childhood. Nothing could’ve prepared me for the roller-coaster ride of emotions I felt while reading this book. It is really my belief that Children of Blood and Bone has set a new standard for YA Fantasy & I am  HERE for it!

Take the Quiz & find out which Maji Clan you’re in, are you a Tamer like I am?

WELCOME TO THE TAMER CLAN
You’re a Tamer, the maji of animals. Compassionate, intuitive, and gentle, you have the power to communicate with and manipulate animals.
As a Tamer, you have a special connection to parts of the human experience that others don’t always engage with. Though your ability to perceive other things can sometimes put you out of touch with reality, your kind nature awakens the compassion in others.
QUICK FACTS
CLAN: Eranko Clan
GOD: Oxosi
AURA: Pink


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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

This past week I participated in a group buddy read for a book that I loved to pieces! I also started one of my MOST anticipated reads for 2018 & have been absorbed within its pages (more on that down below) which probably means there will be a GUSH review coming your way. I don’t know about you Bookworms but 2018 has been SOOOOO good to me with the books I’ve been picking up. Maybe it’s because I’m being a lot more tougher on myself with the books on my TBR & those I request, but it’s been a great January & February soooo let’s cross our fingers & hope for an even better March 😉

Heart Of Iron by Ashley Poston

Last week I embarked on a fun & fast paced Sci-Fi journey that was Heart Of Iron. I rated this book 3.5 stars which is still a really good rating from me…I feel like 3 star ratings get such bad rep but in my book, anything above 3 stars is considered enjoyable. If this gets turned into a series I will definitely continue on with this story. If you enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles, chances are you’ll enjoy this new adventure. I LOVED the characters & history introduced, I just wanted them to be more fleshed out because I found them to be so interesting. Heart of Iron will hit shelves tomorrow 2/27, my review may be viewed here.


To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I’m going to trrrrrry & control myself in this post when it comes to this book. I LOOOOOVED this book *inserts Toy Story reference* to INFINITY & BEYOND!!!! I had the pleasure of buddy reading TKAK with Melanie at Meltotheany, Destiny at Howling Libraries, Jules, and Wren at Fables & Wren who are all phenomenal Book lovers & Bloggers! I will have a spoiler free GUSH review up by Thursday 3/1.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I had a feeling I would enjoy this book but nothing could’ve prepared me for the love I already have in my ❤ for these characters. I’m only 135 pages in & have already shed a few discreet tears on the subway. I’m walking around with page flags Bookworms! yeah this tome is chock full of info, the world is rich & deeply layered. My understanding of the religion COBAB is influenced by only deepens my attachment to this story. Vulture recently interviewed Adeyemi (Vulture) & when asked about her research for this book, she recalls a visit to a shop in Brazil. A visit that led her to discovering a poster with 9 African Gods & being taken aback because all her life she had only seen white Gods. This is where the idea for COBAB started formulating & I found this to be super interesting because I grew up learning about these Saints/Angels. I won’t know til’ I finish reading but it’s looking like this book may just make it into my Top of 2018 🙂


Furyborn (Empirium #1) by Claire Legrand

On March 1st. I will be joining a buddy read for this highly anticipated book & I’m SUPER stoked! no, seriously Bookworms! I already penned it into my planner with a cute little reading girl sticker which means it’s GOING DOWWWWWN! Haha! when a Goodreads blurb starts off with Follows two fiercely independent young women” it’s pretty much a given that I will want to read said book lol so I have my fingers crossed this will be yet another hit in my book cause I’m on a roll *knocks on wood*…don’t judge me 😉


Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a wonderful weekend & that you discovered your next best read 💜 What have you recently finished reading? plan on reading next? Sound off in the comments below 💗 ‘s!


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