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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Blog Tour: The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell Spoiler Free Review + Giveaway!!!

Title: The Devil’s Thief

Author: Lisa Maxwell

Pub. Date: October 9th. 2018

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 704

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

WEBSITE (BUY LINKS) | MAIN WEBSITETWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM

    

In this spellbinding sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Last Magician, Esta and Harte set off on a cross-country chase through time to steal back the elemental stones they need to save the future of magic.

Hunt the Stones.
Beware the Thief.
Avenge the Past.

Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined.

Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it.

To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them.

In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.

As past and future collide, time is running out to rewrite history—even for a time-traveling thief.

Click on photo for source link

I’m just going to preface this review with a whole lot of thanks to the publishers for inviting me on this tour! The Last Magician was one of my top favorite books of 2017 & ever since then my heart has been eagerly awaiting any bit of news I could get for a sequel. The Devil’s Thief was everything I could’ve asked for in a follow-up & it will for sure be on my list of top favorite reads for 2018! ❤

Lisa Maxwell can continue writing books set in this world with these characters for the rest of eternity & I’d never tire! I thought it couldn’t get better than The Last Magician which was EPIC, atmospheric, full of action and that 1920’s NYC magic (see my review here)….coming in at 704 pages, The Devil’s Thief not only holds it’s weight, it DELIVERS!!! full of those plots twists that made it’s predecessor a page turner, The Devil’s Thief hits the ground running. This time around we get introduced to a couple of new characters along with our beloved crew of misfits. Esta and Harte are back & legit my heart could not be filled with more happiness to get more of one of all time favorite ships!<3 If you’re like me & you wished to have had more backstory to some of the side characters from The Last Magician, this book will give you all that and much more! Both Viola & Jianyu get more page time & seeing them more fleshed out only further grew my attachment to this cast of characters. Maxwell is one of those authors that gets multiple POV’s right! I love reading fantasy books in this format but find that often the characters just blend into one another. Here we have distinct voices that carry their personality all on their own, this matters when reading a behemoth of a book.

While I felt The Last Magician balanced action/plot + Character development really well, this sequel is a lot for focused on the characters. Of course I didn’t mind since I LIVE for books with characters like these but for those who love a good plot driven story, this might be a bit of a change of pace. This isn’t a bad thing in my opinion, there were still many parts that I found myself not being able to put down the book. However, we do get some slower pacing & to be honest, I for one was a bit thankful since we do get a ton of time travel between centuries and different cities. I praised Maxwell’s world building in the first book but I was left shooketh with The Devil’s Thief! I legit felt I was in St. Louis during the World’s Fair in the 1900’s so much so that returning to my every day tasks felt like a chore. I constantly wanted to be immersed in this world.

A+ world building, character development and beautiful story telling to ignite the imagination are just some of the main reasons to pick these books up! If you love Diverse Fantasy that comes off the pages organically, look no further! Maxwell has characters in her books from all walks of life, they are layered and three dimensional. One of my favorite characters to come out of these books is Viola, I wished so hard to get more from her & that wish was granted. We get a beautiful F/F romance that only further solidified Viola as my all time fave. I also enjoyed each of the new characters introduced & already am highly anticipating book 3! *adds St. Louis to list of places to see*

Lisa Maxwell is the New York Times Best-Selling author of THE LAST MAGICIAN. Also of UNHOOKED, SWEET UNREST, and GATHERING DEEP. When she’s not writing books, she teaches English at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

 

 


Grand Prize for the Tour Participants:

Signed copy of The Devil’s Thief

pavé snake bracelet

character art

signed swag

Runners Up (2)

Character art

signed swag pack

THROW YOUR 🎩 IN THE RING FOR A CHANCE TO WIN HERE

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS 


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

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 spotlights the top 10 unread books by your favorite authors. I typically like to read my faves as they are released but this year saw me collecting them & not reading them? yea It’s this new thing where I find myself avoiding book hangovers by not reading my faves 🤦🏻‍♀️ this will be changing in 2019 though that’s for sure. Watch me play catch up 😉

*These are in no particular order*

September 25th: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor– Strange made an appearance in my TTT last week as will others because I will be reading them this Fall/Winter season. Laini is my #1 favorite YA author of all time, this book is going to break me with its beauty & I’m finally ready to embrace all of it!

Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo– My Dark Queen has written two books that I haven’t read but know that I’m going to LOVE! I actually learned about this book from Leigh Bardugo while listening to her speak at a signing at NYC Strand. It wasn’t news in the bookish community so it was a real treat to get the 411 straight from Leigh Bardugo. Definitely reading WW this season.

The Language Of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo– This book is STUNNING both inside & out with eye popping illustrations. I meant to read this last Winter just cause it has cold season vibes but that didn’t happen. This Winter season I will be reading this collection.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff– Jay Kristoff won me over with The Illuminae Files & since then I’ve just wanted to read all of his books. I also own The Lotus War trilogy that I’d really like to get to but Nevernight has 100% of my interest for next Kristoff read.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare– It’s been a while since I’ve been in the Shadowhunter world & returning to it this Fall will probably be a bit nostalgic. I have a ton of good memories buddy reading TMI & TID with my hubby. Since he’s already read Lady Midnight, I will have someone at home to bounce my thoughts off of 😂

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman– Uncle Gaiman as I affectionally have dubbed him here on the blog, wrote a book and I haven’t read it 🙈 what’s worse is that I love anything Greek or Norse Mythology so I really don’t have any excuse. I’m a big fan of Gaiman’s audiobooks, he has one of my favorite narrating voices & it always feels like I’m getting a bedtime story. This is a collection of short stories so I may just read it along with another book.

Wire and Nerve by Marissa Meyer– This Illustrated Graphic Novel has been sitting on my shelves for far too long! I loved The Lunar Chronicles & Iko was my fave character along with Captain Thorne of course. Iko as a lead though is all my heart could’ve hoped for so it’s time I give this one a go.

Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker– K.A. Tucker holds a special place in my heart as the first New Adult author I ever read. I’m so happy it was Tucker cause since then I’ve been OBSESSED with anything she writes. Until It Fades gave me darker vibes though but that might just be my perception. Either way, having just recently finished The Simple Wild by Tucker, I want nothing more than to read those books I have yet to get to by this author.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – I actually received my Owlcrate exclusive edition box for the sequel Vengeful earlier today & it was EVERYTHING I could’ve hoped for 🙌🏽 I LOVED The Monsters of Verity Duology so much last year that I just simply couldn’t resist! Most bookworms love the Darker Shades Of Magic books & although I didn’t become obsessed after reading the 1st book, I haven’t quite given up on them either 😂 I will be reading Vicious sometime in October.

The Winds Of Winter by George R.R. Martin – Sort of cheating here since this isn’t out in the world for me to read but I feel putting it out in the Universe may make it actually happen in my lifetime #jussayin 🤷🏻‍♀️ We keep getting other books in this EPIC world & I welcome them all but I just really need book 6 like yesterday 😂


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2018 TBR

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 the top 10 books on your Fall 2018 TBR. I’m actually happy this is the topic because it made me put pen to paper and outline the books I’ve been meaning to get to but for one reason or another, haven’t. These also happen to be books I ABSOLUTELY feel in my core, will be 5 star reads. I may be wrong but given how some of my blogging buddies have spoken about these books, I have a feeling I’m in for a treat so let’s do this!

*These are in no particular order*

September 18th: Books On My Fall 2018 TBR

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – This book has shamefully been sitting on my shelf collecting dust for far too long! Having discovered it on Booktube YEARS ago & hearing all of the GUSH reviews, I just knew the Sci-Fi lover in me would appreciate this title. Diverse Character driven books will always be a MUST read for me

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor– Why do I feel like I already know the characters in this book on a personal level? I can’t wait to meet Lazlo on the page though haha! Laini is one of my top 3 fave authors of all time, she holds the #1 spot. This means that I get excited when book news makes its rounds but I also strangely cannot bring myself to read the book. Laini’s books are the only books to give me hangovers and everything else that follows it typically suffers a bit SMH. I own a copy of Muse of Nightmares though so a binge session is coming later this month 😉

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel – Hi! Hello! My name is Lilly & I cannot resist Sci-fi books written in mixed media format ever since the Illuminae Files. This is another book I’ve owned for too long but now that the other books in this series are out I really have no excuse not to get to. Also, I hear the audiobooks are A+ in performance

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – Now this one has quite the buzz behind it & from what I’ve heard it’s well deserved. An Asian inspired Fantasy, magic, and a military school?!? why I haven’t read this is BEYOND me since it seems to check off all my boxes for a MUST read

CIRCE by Madeline Miller – Greek Mythology has always managed to reign in my attention for as long as I can remember. I was that kid reading The Iliad and the Odyssey in 7th grade who had to read ahead of the required reading chapters in class smh. Prioritizing this one above all others for October.

City Of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty – This book just spews magic right from the very cover. I feel it in my core that this will be a 5 star read. “an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and One Thousand and One Nights, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts” —Yea hard to pass up with this blurb

Fruits Basket (Volume 1) by Natsuki Takaya – I actually read the first 40 pages to Fruits Basket while waiting in B&N for a appointment. Engrossed in what I read, I’m not sure why I never returned to buy a copy but that has since been remedied & I’m ready to dive back in. Basically this one is about a girl who is orphaned & she decides to set up a tent to live in but it’s on a wealthy clans family. This family has a bit of a secret, when embraced by the opposite sex, they turn into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. HELLA intrigued!

Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab – Ok, so this one is about college buddies turned arch-nemeses with Supernatural abilities in the mix as well. This is another book where I feel as If I know the characters, Victor & Eli! I’ll see you in the pages! also it’s Schwab so I couldn’t help myself and totes ordered myself the exclusive Owlcrate edition for Vengeful *yupppp I never said I don’t have a problem* 

The Diviners by Libba Bray – I’ve been counting down the days till October to read this book. Not only is it hella diverse but it takes place in the 20’s which is my favorite time period in history. I have both the physical and audiobook copy & will most likely read them in both formats at the same time. It’s a chunker of a book so it’ll be nice to listen to when I cant read at work, also I’ve heard Libba Bray narrates & SLAYYYYYS the performance for each character

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare- Last but NEVER least is this beauty of a book! Last time I was in this world was probably last year when I read Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy & miss it something bad! I will be buddy reading LM with Melanie from Meltotheany who is currently reading all of the TMI & TID books, giving me all of the feels reliving my reading experience with some of my favorite fictional characters of all time!


Hello Bookworms! this week I went with books from my backlist cause they’re the ones that haunt me the MOST! Which books on your Fall TBR are you looking forward to? If you’ve read any of the books I’ve mentioned, feel free to offer up some words of encouragement for your favorites 😉


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Spoiler Free Review: SEAFIRE by Natalie C. Parker

Title: SEAFIRE

Author:Natalie C. Parker

Pub. Date: August 28th. 2018

Genre: YA FANTASY

Publisher: Penguin/Razorbill

Pages: 384

Content Warnings: Violence, murder, death, drug addiction, loss of loved ones, and captivity

Buddy Read: Melanie from Meltotheany & Amy from ACourtofCrownsandQuills

🦋 ARC provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review 🦋  

GOODREADS | BARNES AND NOBLEAMAZON 

   

“Loss is inevitable. Some losses will be harder than others. So remember this: Never risk more than you’re willing to lose”

I have a fascination of all things Pirates & reading all of the YA pirate themed books this past year has been quite the fun adventure, none as pulse pounding as SEAFIRE though! We are introduced to a world with a villain by the name of Adric & his crew of boys he calls Bullets. Terrorizing both land and water, Adric takes young boys away from their families and puts them to work for him. Caledonia Styx grew up on a ship alongside her Captain parents and younger brother. The Ghost became a refuge ship for families trying to keep their sons safe and away from Adric’s grips. Catastrophe strikes and Cal’s family is killed while she is off the ship scouting for danger. Both Cal and her best friend Pisces are the only survivors and together they put together a crew of fifty two girls to navigate the Mors Navis. Loyal and fiercely protective of one another, this all female crew take no risks with their safety. This all changes when pisces rescues a Bullet who claims to have gone rogue and is in need of help. Cal is adamant on not helping this Bullet for personal reasons…she believes taking him in can only lead them straight to trouble. When Oran (Rogue Bullet) claims to have some very important knowledge about Adric, Cal has to decide whether she can put her reservations aside for the sake of taking Adric down once & for all. Fast paced and full of action, SEAFIRE had me rooting for the crew of the Mors Navis! I celebrated their victories and felt deeply for their losses.

It can’t be easy writing a large cast of characters and yet Parker gave us some stand-out crew members I’ll find very hard to forget. Our MC  Caledonia is just trying to be the very best Captain she can be by following in her mother’s footsteps. She’s learning from her mistakes and for that we can thank her best friend Pisces who isn’t afraid to check her BFF no matter that she is the Captain of the ship. It was interesting seeing some of their power struggles play out especially since Pisces clearly doesn’t want the responsibility, she just wants Cal to be the best she can be. Cal & pisces have their ups & downs but what pair of sisters doesn’t? 🖤 Then we have crew members that are more of a Sisterhood, each with their own voice/personality. Redtooth, Hime, Amina, Lace got the most page time and I LOVED each one of them for their loyalty to one another. This book may have made its rounds as being a Sapphic Pirate tale & although it isn’t one in the most forthcoming sense, a relationship is implied between two of the shipmates. I won’t say who for spoilers sake but I will say that I love these two characters to pieces & together they made me smile all the more 🖤

SEAFIRE had my adrenaline going for the majority of my time spent within it’s pages. When I wasn’t pumped up for this feminist pirate tale, I was wiping away tears for their losses. I love a good found family story & this year we’ve been blessed with so many good ones, SEAFIRE now joins those ranks. The only reason I docked this a star was because I wish the romance was a bit more convincing, I saw it coming but wasn’t really with it. Who knows, maybe they’ll win me over in the next one haha! Nevertheless, I LOVED all of these characters to pieces and seeing them handle some hard hitting issues made them feel all the more real. Grief and drug addiction are two of the darker themes we see the crew struggle with, making Adric in my book, one of the most vile villains in YA Fantasy I’ve come across. The abduction of young boys already being a major threat, we then see how Adric keeps them in his service through forced addiction to a drug he pushes. The scenes in which certain characters experience withdrawals were tough to read but also came across as a healing/fresh start for those who made it off the drug. Cal and her crew don’t have a history of giving up on people which is part of the reason I think Pisces was so hard on Cal for not coming around to Oran aka the Bullet who wants to defect. One thing is for certain, the crew of the Mors Navis is a Sisterhood! 🖤


Happy Thursday Bookworms! I hope you’re all having a fantastic day! SEFAIRE has already hit the shelves & everyone is talking about this Feminist Pirate tale 🖤 I am in deep need of the sequel but for now I’ll settle for fan-girling with those who love it as much as I do! 🖤


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Spoiler Free Review: The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèli Clark

Title: The Black God’s Drums

Author: P. Djèli Clark

Pub. Date: August 21st. 2018

Genre: Sci-Fi/Steampunk/Fantasy/Novella

Publisher: Tor.com

Pages: 110

Content Warnings: Death, Slavery, War themes, racism

Buddy Read: Mel from Meltotheany

GOODREADS | BARNES AND NOBLE | AMAZON 

🖤 ARC received in exchange for an honest review 🖤

    

Black God’s Drums takes place in a alternate New Orleans in the late 1800’s, two decades since a slave uprising against the Confederates which led to their freedom. The slaves & “Free Coloured Militias” joined forces against the Confederates in a all out war that resulted in New Orleans getting assistance from Haitian, British, and French airships. From this a Truce was signed & New Orleans was made a neutral and open port. Our MC Jaqueline aka Creeper roams the docks picking pockets in order to feed herself.

Image from Pinterest, not my own

Creeper is also blessed & chosen by the Goddess Oya, ruler of the winds. Oya is one of many Orisha aka Black Gods known to live among the people although they can’t be seen. Oya makes her presence known to Creeper in her own language & living in alignment with her sister God is key to living a less chaotic life. I love reading anything about the Orishas & seeing them come to life on the page really enhanced my reading experience. They weren’t in the background, one God/Goddess can recognize when another human comes with another Orisha link and since the Orishas themselves have history, it doesn’t always make for a pleasant experience. One thing is for certain though, the Orishas want to help these people and they don’t want to see New Orleans succumb to terror & war at the hands of the Confederates or any other group of people who can’t accept emancipation.

Always silently sneaking in & out of places, trading in secrets for her survival, Creeper does stumble across some information that put New Orleans in danger. Her path crosses with Ann-Marie, a female lesbian Captain with a disability who Creeper thinks would be interested in buying said secret. Ann-Marie is a Privateer who ships cargo…well she also has a side job helping “General Tubman” smuggling slaves out and helping with the war against the Confederates. This makes Ann-Marie the ideal person to sell this secret to. Of course Ann-Marie is far from naive & decides she’s going to need to hear it from the horses mouth. Thus begins Creeper & Ann-Marie’s journey to uncover the threat hanging over New Orleans.

The Characters we meet along the way made me wish so hard for this to be turned into a full length novel! How can I get so attached to them in so little time?!?! Maybe because just like New Orleans, they come full of personality & life 🖤 I giggled a few times when we met the Nuns who know EVERYTHING & do a bit more than pray for New Orleans. We get a bit of alchemy in the mix that left me giving these characters a nod cause I really didn’t know what to expect.

My only grievance if that, would be that this book really deserves to be a full length novel 🖤 Clark fleshed out these characters so well they are still fresh in my mind a month after having read the last page. The world building had me in its clutches cause who doesn’t love airships, lesbian captains, Black Gods/Godesses and a all black main cast of characters?!?! I need more 🤗 & cannot stress enough how important it is to get these Own Voices diverse stories  🖤


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: STRANGE GRACE BY TESSA GRATTON

Title: Strange Grace

Author: Tessa Gratton

Pub. Date: September 18th. 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 320

Content Warnings: Human sacrifice, Death, Trauma, and Torture…There’s probably a whole lot more that I’m missing since this in fact is THE darkest read I’ve ever read, please note trigger warnings for graphic imagery.

Buddy Read: Melanie, Julie, and Candace

*Thank you Simon & Schuster for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

    

“Every seven years their best boy is sent into the forest from sundown to sunrise, on the night of the Slaughter Moon. he will live or die on his own mettle, and for his sacrifice the devil blesses Three Graces”

In Three Graces the people live without death, disease, or injuries in exchange for their best boy. The most purest of heart & loved by all the people is raised to be sacrificed as a “Saint” every seven years to the Devil who lives in the forest, a bargain that started when a Grace witch fell in love with the Devil. When the Slaughter moon comes early at the 3 year mark, all are left wondering what went wrong with the last sacrifice. For three of the youths living in Three Graces, it’s an opportunity to give their lives some purpose…

Mairwen- A Grace Witch who has always been pulled in by the dark magic that lives in the forest. The Daughter of a Grace Witch & a Saint, Mairwen dreams of the day she can do more than just brush the borders of the Forest. Mairwen is definitely what I’d consider a daughter of the night, she collects bones and makes trinkets out of them. Mairwen does NOT fear the Devil. Fearless & strong, Mairwen also loves Rhun & Arthur who each face their own challenges.

Rhun- Our towns chosen Saint, loved by all and descended from a long line of Saints sacrificed to the Devil & the forest. Rhun is fully prepared to die for the people of Three Graces who believe him to be the best boy. However, Rhun also knows that his love for Arthur if discovered will most likely take him out of the running for “Saint.” Still, Rhun doesn’t hold back his love for either Mairwen or Arthur. What I love about Rhun is that he respects Arthur’s boundaries & understands that Arthur isn’t ready to acknowledge there are feelings there to begin with.

Arthur- The Outcast of Three Graces as a result of his mothers decision to raise him as a girl. Arthur’s mother believed she could protect him from ever having to be considered for sacrifice by keeping his gender a secret. This however backfires when at a young age he is exposed in front of others and made to question his own identity. My heart bleeds for Arthur who I just want to protect at all costs! Arthur’s also the only one who sees how messed up Three graces really is and how toxic masculinity runs deep in its core. Arthur waivers between needing to prove something to this town and basically saying SCREW YOU! Arthur is not one to self sacrifice for this town however he loves both Mairwen & Rhun most and for them anything goes.

Strange Grace lured me in with its beautifully mysterious cover with a tree and red leaves never once thinking it would wrap its roots around my every waking thought. I LIVE for dark atmospheric reads but Tessa Gratton seriously elevated the bar on what I consider Dark Fantasy going forward. I LOVED every minute of my reading experience with this book & the imagery I was left with alone makes this a stand-out read. Gratton gives us a Polyamorous relationship and a mostly all queer cast of characters. Gender fluidity is discussed from the POV of one of the main characters who was made to live as female at an age when they didn’t know the difference. This character grows up to be someone who wants so badly for there to be no hard lines of distinction between what makes one male or female. This is the first book I’ve ever come across in YA Fantasy to weave in so many important discussions on gender & sexuality and I cannot sing its praises enough! The writing might haunt you & break you but I guarantee it will leave its mark on you 🖤


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July Wrap Up

Hello Bookworms! It’s the start of the weekend for me & on the agenda is getting some reviews posted here on the blog. I had one of the MOST fun reading months in July & pretty much picked up one book after another with no brakes. I also participated in  #Smutathon & read some awesome Contemporary titles, special thanks goes to Melanie for keeping us on track with them buddy reads haha! ❤ I also found myself reading books that I’d typically pick up in the Fall & I think that’s just my subconscious prepping for the season of warm sweaters, colorful leaves, and hot tea *bring it* In the month of July I truly tried to read whatever my heart desired seeing as the rest of the year is pretty booked with new ARCS & releases I have on deck to review. Looking down at my collage of book covers I’m smiling seeing the variety so this is one happily satisfied bookworm!

Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart 3 STARS I really enjoyed this tale of two sisters switching places however I ended up being interested & invested in one sister more than the other. There were some pacing issues however, the ending is soOo promising of what’s to come & I am definitely going to p/u the sequel to this duology.

The King Of Bourbon Street by Thea De Salle– 4.5 STARS✨ (RTC) This is the first Naughty read on Lair Of Books & I could NOT be more happier with it! well…I could have been hype as all hell had it been a plus sized gal up on the cover but more to come on that in my review. This was steamy & all around AMAZING with body positivity (except for the cover) & LGBTQIAP+ Rep. I look forward to continuing on with the rest of this series 😉

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory 4 STARSA Contemporary with important topics woven into the story. I LOVE the female MC however I wasn’t fond of the male interest, his attitude towards women left much to be desired. 

Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu ✨5 STARS✨ (Mini RTC) This has to be the cutest web comic turned Graphic Novel EVER! well it’s the first I’ve read & has me officially HOOKED! I debated on whether to give this 4 stars cause I really wanted more of the romance but then again the friendships REALLY are AMAZING! Bitty stole my heart with his pie baking skills & I just need more of his college experience & Vlogs 💓

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton5 STARS✨ (RTC) A Pleasant & unexpected surprise this was! I thought I’d be creeped the heck out by Strange Grace but instead I ended up being entranced by this dark and beautifully written Polyamorous read. More thoughts to come in my review next week 🖤

Scream All Night by Derek Milman4 STARS✨ Quirky, odd, sad, and a times very funny all rolled into one is what I described this one as in my review. Scream All Night feature a MC who has had to emancipate himself at the age of 12 in order to get away from an abusive father. Now 17, Dario returns to the castle/studio where the worse of his memories still reside in order to be present for his father’s last wishes. This one read very different that anything I’ve ever read & it worked, I was engaged all throughout & enamored by Moldavia studios and its inhabitants 🖤

Josh and Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren4 STARS✨ (RTC)  There’s so much to love in this story! from the Korean culture we get from Josh to the fierce independence we see in Hazel. I had SO MUCH fun reading this & found myself falling in love with their love story, easily one of the best I’ve read!  More thoughts to come next week 🖤

The Black God’s Drum by P. Djèlí Clark 5 STARS✨ (RTC) I just need this to be made into a full length novel cause it absolutely left me wanting more from this world. Most intriguing is how I managed to get so interested & invested in these characters in such a short period of time since this is a novella but I did! If you enjoyed Children of Blood and Bone for its Orisha aspects then this is a MUST read 😉

I think it’s safe to say now that you’ll be seeing quite a few reviews start to trickle out here on Lair Of Books 😂 they are for the most part ARCS that are set to be published in September. Since I was on a roll with my reading, everything else pretty much took a back seat & that includes TV & Netflix. I did however go on a date with hubby & we watched…

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

Paul Rudd & Evangeline Lilly were the PERFECT duo on the screen! Where Scott/Ant-Man fell short, Hope/The Wasp more than made up. Action packed scenes infused with the ol’ Wasp humor, enhanced suits, and old friends = a VERY good time!  I rated this one 5 STARS!

 

 


Hope you’re all having a FAB August! It’s setting up to be an exciting month for me with my first vacation in over 10 years! LOOOOOONG overdue but oh how sweet it will feel taking that ride on the Hogwarts Express?!?! 😱😱😱 I know I’m a bit late with this wrap-up so instead I’ll end this by asking, what books are on your night stand? 💓


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Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

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 HYPE! books everyone is talking, blogging, and instagramming about. Wherever you look, these are the books you can’t seem to escape and feel like you NEEEED to read like you need air 😂 Well, these are 10 (in no particular order) that actually live up to the hype and I’m glad to have hopped on that train! 💓

July 31st 2018: Ten Books with Sensory Reading Memories

🖤 The Cruel Prince by Holly Black– My 1st book by Holly Black & honestly it had me wondering why I hadn’t read anything by Black in all these years! 🙈 I’m fully convinced Black is Fae Royalty, I’ve never come across anyone who made me LOVE Fae as much. Dark & full of plot twists this is THE book to break your neck trying to keep up with. The hype is real with this one & as expected, The Wicked King set to release in 2019 is no different 🙌🏼

🖤 FURYBORN by Claire Legrand-This book had me a bit skeptical I’ll admit & that almost made me pass on it. Whelp! something told me to request that title from the Publisher & fainted a million faints when it showed up in all its glory. This book pulled off two timelines 1K years apart! I read FURYBORN with a bunch of other bookworm buddies & we ALL agreed…the HYPE IS REAL & WELL DESERVED! 😆

🖤 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff– Quite possibly THE trilogy to get me into all things YA Sci-Fi books. I actually waited 1 year before cracking open my copy of Illumimae after hearing so many of my closest rave about these characters. I kicked myself once I had read it & realized I was missing out BIG time! 😂

🖤 Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo–  I meaaaaan! by now you’ve probably seen a hundred different variations of artwork inspired by the characters in this book. It’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t heard of Kaz Brekker or Inej Ghafa. The crew in this book will stay with you way past the last page & is ABSOLUTELY worth the hype! 🙌🏼

🖤 The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden-  This is the one everyone slept on & then it just started to make waves a year later. I couldn’t believe this book was written by a debut author. Today, this trilogy is one of my all time favorites. Who else is HIGHLY anticipating The Winter Of The Witch? 😃

🖤 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas– Relevant, poignant, and such an important read! THUG is one that should be part of course curriculums & I’m just so glad to have read it & continue to spread the love for this book. FOMO will run high around the time of movie release, please read the book before watching the movie 💙

🖤 Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi– The line for this book at Bookcon was Nanas! and a true testament to this books success really. COBAB is also being adapted to the big screen & has also been selected as the 1st book selection for Jimmy Fallon’s Book Club 😱 it is well worth the hype!

🖤 The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater-The Raven Boys are another crew of characters that are very well known in the book community. Blue & the boys have a special place in my heart and I’m really looking forward to the tv adaptation if only to get more time with these characters. I read this one before the hype train took off & can honestly say it’s hype worthy!

🖤 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by JK Rowling– Saving the best for last! HP is one that will never die down its hype as well it shouldn’t! I am forever hyping Harry & Co to my tiny human to the point where she can’t wait to reach HP reading level 😂 SMH. Till we’re old and gray we’ll reminsice on the days we spent reading about Hogwarts.

🖤 The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare– My first YA series, the one responsible for my love of all things YA Fantasy. Twilight may have been my first YA book ever but it was City Of Bones that hooked me and never let me go. The hype with these books was and is so strong that I caught wind of them way before knowing the book community existed. I had no idea it was the beginning of a long love affair…


Hello Bookworms & a very happy Tuesday <3’s! Have you read any of the books I’ve listed? Which hyped up book are you ever so happy you hopped on the train for? Drop some love down below 🙂


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