January Wrap-Up & Book Haul

January was a month of quality reads for me. I don’t think I’ve ever had a month where every book I read, I loved. One thing is clear though, I am really enjoying Diverse reads and being able to relate to some of the characters. I am also still on a mission to lower my arc pile with the help of my handy spreadsheet lol & making progress. This however, has not stopped me from acquiring new books cuzzzz i’m a helpless bookworm who can’t resist good deals & steals ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ annnnnd let’s face it, February doesn’t look like it’s going to be a slow month in the book world either. Yet still, I do plan on mostly picking up those books that I’ve already read & loved in arc form in order to support the authors & cuz If I loved them so much, i’d like to own them ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ˜

I’m very happy that The Bear and the Nightingale & Gilded Cage are solid starters for series. I get to go back to these worlds/characters and see what they’ve been up to & I can’t wait! I also hope to see more from all of these debut authors, they were all seriously noteworthy for many different reasons. I’ve reviewed all and attached the links ๐Ÿ˜‰

January also saw me host my very 1st giveaway (see here) and I am happy with the outcome. The winner of the Owlcrate giveaway was Naz @ย ReadDiverseBooks, check out his wonderfully diverse blog for all things diverse reads! The next giveaway will most likely be in May to celebrate my 1 year blogoversary and there will be 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place prizes ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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ย Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic Jamesย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 STARS)

ย American Street by Ibi Zoboiย ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (4STARS)

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden ย ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 STARS)

The Education of Margot Sanchezย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (4.5 STARS)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomasย ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… (5 STARS)

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*These 3 were Goodreads wins, your girl was a bit lucky this month (thank the Book Gods)

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornallย 

The Story Of ย New Name (Theย Neapolitan Novels #2) by Elena Ferranteย 

The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferranteย 

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The Bear and the Nightingale (the Bear and the Nightingale #1) by Katherine Arden

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasiย 

Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk by Kathleen Rooneyย 

Good As Gone by Amy Gentryย 

Wires and Nerve (Wires and Nerve #1) by Marissa Meyer

City Of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

Arabella of Mars (The Adventures Of Arabella Ashby #1) by David D. Levine

Frost Blood (Frostblood Saga #1) by Elly Blake

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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January’s Book Of The Month, I went with Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk and added Good As Gone for $9.99. BOTM gifted their subbies Gillian Flynn’s The Grownup ๐Ÿ™‚

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Follow me @Lair_Of_Books <3’s

I purchased these two lovely Book Biff’s from Breanne over at BizzyLittleB, she was very sweet & filled my custom order very quickly. Currently she isn’t taking custom orders due to starting a new school semester but she’ll be back & i’m keeping an eye out for when she does ๐Ÿ˜‰

what-i-watched-bannerunderworldbwposterI managed to squeeze in a movie with the hubby this month. We went to see Underworld Blood Wars & although it was enjoyable we felt it wasn’t the strongest film in the franchise. That’s tough to say cuz I’m a HUGE Underworldย & Kate Beckinsale fan. I’m still not giving up on Underworld & hope that the next one is re-vamped (hehe see what I did there smh).

maxresdefaultOn the TV front, i’ve admittedly fallen behindย on a lot of my shows since they returned from Winter break but the DVR is working over time saving them for me. However, I have returned to one of my faves Vikings Season 4ย (link to IMDB) & i’m once again hooked. Team Lagertha all the way & I really hope they don’t kill off my boo lol ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ

As has been the case these past couple of months, I’m a bit late with this book haul/wrap-up but i’ve been catching up with some of yours. Seems like for the most part, January was all aboutย getting back in the swing of things. Love seeing how your January went & wish all my bookish peeps happy reading in February <3’s!

 

GIVEAWAY: JANUARY OWLCRATE

These past 48 hours have been very nerve wracking for many U.S. citizens. My anxiety has been through the roof, so when I received book mail Friday…it helped in distracting me for just a bit. I knew I wanted to host my 1st giveaway this year, I just didn’t think it would be this soon lol. The spirit of giving hit me though, and so I shall go with it. I hope this box finds its way to a wonderful bookworm who might also need a bit of a distraction. I meant to  post this box earlier in the day but btwn my 2 tiny humans & being absorbed watching the Women’s March I have truly lost track of time. Running this giveaway is giving me a little happy back & for that I am grateful. The rules for this giveaway will be listed at the bottom of this post. This giveaway will be open to my INTERNATIONAL bookworms as well, inspired by the outpouring support I’ve seen this morning from women all over the world. I have also been actively seeking out Diverse Books and this will play a part in this giveaway ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Click on photo if you’d like to follow my journey with books on IG โค

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

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

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๐Ÿฅ€Roseblood by A.G. Howard (hardcover)

๐Ÿฅ€1 mint tea packet by @firsteditiontea ๐Ÿฅ€1 Secret Garden inspired book-shaped soap (smells SO good!)

๐Ÿฅ€1 Slaughterhouse Five inspired watercolor #bookmark

๐Ÿฅ€1 children’s classics inspired calendar by @obviousstate

๐Ÿฅ€1 Phantom Of The Opera fridge magnet

๐Ÿฅ€ 1 Owlcrate Theatre pin

๐Ÿฅ€1 Wires and Nerve by Marisa Meyer mini poster

 

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๐Ÿฅ€ This giveaway will be open to my INTERNATIONAL bookish peeps as well, you just have to have a valid mailing & email address that you are willing to share with me

๐Ÿฅ€ Follow my blog of course  (i’ll be checking loves)

๐Ÿฅ€ Must be 18 years or older

๐Ÿฅ€ Comment on this post with your most anticipated book for 2017, if this book happens to be a Diverse Book, you will get 1 extra entry ๐Ÿ˜‰

๐Ÿฅ€ This giveaway will run starting today 1/21/17 til next Sunday 1/28/2017

Good luck to all those who decide to throw their hat in the ring. I have my lucky mason jar ready and can’t wait to see all of your recommendations. My excited face is on at the moment hehe ๐Ÿ™‚

October Owlcrate & BOTM

 

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

Owlcrate

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& if you’d like, follow me @Lair_Of_books 

Theme: Once Upon A Dream

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

I actually met Sarah Porter earlier in the month at New York Comic Con/Bookcon & received a signed finished hard cover copy of Vassa In The Night. Sarah seemed very lovely & wonderfully eccentric in full costume for the book event. Since I now have 2 finished copies of Vassa In The Night, I will be doing a giveaway soon since my 6 month blogoversary is coming up ๐Ÿ˜‰

Book Of The Month

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@Lair_of_books

Book Of the Month is a monthly subscription service offering 5 selections each month ranging in genre. BOTM does a pretty awesome job at scouting reads that are great conversation starters & are truly thought provoking. The simplicity of the box also places all of the focus on the books themselves which is refreshing in a world full of subscription boxes with an array of themes. I subscribed to BOTM in hopes that it would get done what I haven’t been able to do in a while which is get back to reading Fiction. I LOVE Fantasy & Sci-Fi but I can’t say that I don’t miss the genre that got me into reading in the first place. In order to bring some FIC back into my life I subbed to BOTM. It also didn’t hurt that I received a $5 coupon for my first month ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am really looking forward to reading The Mothers by Brit Bennett (hopefully in November) & trying out BOTM.

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

Has anyone else subscribed to any of these boxes? if so, are you enjoying them? any BOTM subscribers out there? which book did you select for October? ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Zoraida Cรณrdova

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About the Author:

Zoraida Cรณrdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. She is the author of the Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and the Brooklyn Brujas series. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro or visit her at zoraidacordova.com.

 

I’d like to thank Sourcebooks Fire for offering my blog & I the opportunity to feature Zoraida Cรณrdova, author of Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1). After reading (My review can be found here) & falling in love with the characters & world in Labyrinth lost, I just knew that this was something i’d love to do. ย Not only because I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but also because it is a perfect example of ofย aย #ownvoicesย book. Zoraida Cรณrdova has now become an auto-buy author for me & I look forward to continuing with the Brooklyn Brujas series. To best describe Labyrinth Lost I would say thatย Daniel Josรฉ Older (author of Shadowshaper) hit the nail on the head….โ€œA brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Danteโ€™s Inferno. Very creepy, very magical, very necessary.โ€ย I truly enjoyed being able to recognize many of the Mexican, Ecuadorian, Caribbean, and African influences that made up the magical experience that is Labyrinth Lost. The central theme in this book wasย family (ancestral-living & dead) & self identity. We also get LGBTQIA diversity in Labyrinth Lost, our characters didn’t see gender which is rare. We usually get quite the opposite in the Latino community, the way Zoraida Cรณrdova handled her characters & themes has made Labyrinth Lost an instant fave for the year (probably of all time lol). Last but not least, Kudos to the author & publishing house for the awesome giveaway (runs Sept 6th-19th) at the end of this post!

 

Summary:

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generationโ€ฆand she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she canโ€™t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderlandโ€ฆ

Goodreads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27969081-labyrinth-lost?from_search=true
Buy Links:
http://books.sourcebooks.com/labyrinth-lost/
Book Trailer Link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_DBTALS6bI
Labyrinth Lost Coloring Page:
http://www.sourcebooks.com/images/LabyrinthLost-ColoringPage.pdf

 

 

The following is an excerpt from labyrinth Lost provided by Sourcebooks Fire:

 

1

Follow our voices, sister.

Tell us the secret of your death.

โ€”-Resurrection Canto,ย 
Book of Cantos

The second time I saw my dead aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.

Earlier that day, my mom had warned me, pressing a long, red fingernail on the tip of my nose, โ€œAlejandra, donโ€™t go downstairs when the Circle arrives.โ€

But I was seven and asked too many questions. Everyย Sunday, cars piled up in our driveway, down the street, and around the corner of our old, narrow house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Momโ€™s Circle usually brought cellophane–wrapped dishes and jars of dirt and tubs of brackish water that made the Hudson River look clean. This time, they carried something more.

When my sisters started snoring, I threw off my covers and crept down the stairs. The floorboards were uneven and creaky, but I was good at not being seen. Fuzzy, yellow streetlight shone through our attic window and followed me down every flight until I reached the basement.

A soft hum made its way through the thin walls. I remember thinking I should listen to my momโ€™s warning and go back upstairs. But our house had been restless all week, and Lula, Rose, and I were shoved into the attic, out of the way while the grown–ups prepared the funeral. I wanted out. I wanted to see.

The night was moonless and cold one week after the Witchโ€™s New Year, when Aunt Rosaria died of a sickness that made her skin yellow like hundred–year–old paper and her nails turn black as coal. We tried to make her beautiful again. My sisters and I spent all day weaving good luck charms from peonies, corn husks, and stringโ€”-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. Not even the morticians, the Magos de Muerte, could fix her once–lovely face.

Aunt Rosaria was dead. I was there when we mourned her. I was there when we buried her. Then, I watched my father and two others shoulder a dirty cloth bundle into the house, and I knew I couldnโ€™t stay in bed, no matter what my mother said.

So I opened the basement door.

Red light bathed the steep stairs. I leaned my head toward the light, toward the beating sound of drums and sharp plucks of fat, nylon guitar strings.

A soft mew followed by whiskers against my arm made my heart jump to the back of my rib cage. I bit my tongue to stop the scream. It was just my cat, Miluna. She stared at me with her white, glowing eyes and hissed a warning, as if telling me to turn back. But Aunt Rosaria was my godmother, my family, my friend. And I wanted to see her again.

โ€œSh!โ€ I brushed the catโ€™s head back.

Miluna nudged my leg, then ran away as the singing started.

I took my first step down, into the warm, red light. Raspy voices called out to our gods, the Deos, asking for blessings beyond the veil of our worlds. Their melody pulled me step by step until I was crouched at the bottom of the landing.

They were dancing.

Brujas and brujos were dressed in mourning white, their faces painted in the aspects of the dead, white clay and black coal to trace the bones. They danced in two circlesโ€”-the outer ring going clockwise, the inner counterclockwiseโ€”hands clasped tight, voices vibrating to the pulsing drums.

And in the middle was Aunt Rosaria.

Her body jerked upward. Her black hair pooled in the air like she was suspended in water. There was still dirt on her skin. The white skirt we buried her in billowed around her slender legs. Black smoke slithered out of her open mouth. It weaved in and out of the circleโ€”-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. It tugged Aunt Rosaria higher and higher, matching the rhythm of the canto.

Then, the black smoke perked up and changed its target. It could smell me. I tried to backpedal, but the tiles were slick, and I slid toward the circle. My head smacked the tiles. Pain splintered my skull, and a broken scream lodged in my throat.

The music stopped. Heavy, tired breaths filled the silence of the pulsing red dark. The enchantment was broken. Aunt Rosariaโ€™s reanimated corpse turned to me. Her body purged black smoke, lowering her back to the ground. Her ankles cracked where the bone was brittle, but still she took a step. Her dead eyes gaped at me. Her wrinkled mouth growled my name:ย Alejandra.

She took another step. Her ankle turned and broke at the joint, sending her flying forward. She landed on top of me. The rot of her skin filled my nose, and grave dirt fell into my eyes.

Tongues clucked against crooked teeth. The voices of the circle hissed, โ€œWhatโ€™s the girl doing out of bed?โ€

There was the scent of extinguished candles and melting wax. Decay and perfume oil smothered me until they pulled the body away.

My mother jerked me up by the ear, pulling me up two flights of stairs until I was back in my bed, the scream stuck in my throat like a stone.

โ€œNever,โ€ she said. โ€œYou hear me, Alejandra? Never break a Circle.โ€

I lay still. So still that after a while, she brushed my hair, thinking I had fallen asleep.

I wasnโ€™t. How could I ever sleep again? Blood and rot and smoke and whispers filled my head.

โ€œOne day youโ€™ll learn,โ€ she whispered.

Then she went back down the street–lit stairs, down into the warm red light and to Aunt Rosariaโ€™s body. My mother clapped her hands, drums beat, strings plucked, and she said, โ€œAgain.โ€

 

Labyrinth Lost
By Zoraida Cรณrdova
September 6, 2016; Hardcover, ISBN 9781492620945

Praise for Labyrinth Lost

โ€œThis work is a magical journey from start to finish… A compelling must-have for teensโ€
โ€“School Library Journal, STARRED review

โ€œCรณrdovaโ€™s (the Vicious Deep series) magic-infused, delightfully dark story introduces readers to an engrossing, Latin Americanโ€“inspired fantasy setting and an irresistible heroineโ€
โ€“Publishers Weekly

โ€œA brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Danteโ€™s Inferno. Very creepy, very magical, very necessary.โ€
โ€”Daniel Josรฉ Older, New York Times bestselling author of Shadowshaper

โ€œLabyrinth Lost is more like reading Paradise Found. Zoraida Cรณrdova brings us a new generation of witches, enchanting and complex. And every page is filled with magic.โ€
โ€”Danielle Page, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die

Cรณrdovaโ€™s world will leave you breathless, and her magic will ignite an envy so green youโ€™ll wish you were born a bruja. Delightfully dark and enchanting. An un-putdownable book.โ€
-Dhonielle Clayton, author of The Belles and Shiny Broken Pieces

โ€œCรณrdovaโ€™s rich exploration of Latin American culture, her healthy portrayal of bisexuality and her unique voice allow this novel to stand out among its many peers.โ€
โ€“RT Book Reviews

โ€œCordova draws inspiration from Ecuadorian, Spanish, African, Mexican, and Caribbean folklore and mythology to craft a page-turning tale about a young bruja unsure of her place in the world.โ€
โ€“Bustle.com
โ€œCรณrdova pulls elements from Greek mythology and Spanish and Latin American legends to craft a memorable world in Los Lagos, a supernatural realm that is as fascinating as it is threatening. The history and customs of Alexโ€™s familyโ€™s type of witchery are also carefully constructed, giving readers a complete world to sink into with satisfaction and wonder.โ€
-Bulletin of the Center for Childrenโ€™s Books

โ€œThis succeeds with its lush use of Latin American mythologies, an unexpected love story, and, above all, in Alexโ€™s complicated relationship with her family. Alex is a necessary heroine, and this dark fantasy nicelyโ€
-Booklist

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Copies of Labyrinth Lost with Signed Labyrinth Lost Bookmarks

ย 

Runsย September 6th-September 19thย (US & Canada only)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/54ca7af7402/ย 

Social Media Links:
Author Website: http://www.zoraidacordova.com/
Labyrinth Lost Website: http://books.sourcebooks.com/labyrinth-lost/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CordovaBooks
Twitter: @zlikeinzorro
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wanderwheel/
Author Tumblr: http://wanderlands.tumblr.com/
Labyrinth Lost Tumblr: http://labyrinthlostbooks.tumblr.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ZoraidaLandLabyrinth Lost