Spoiler Free Review: Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2)

Title: Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2)

Author: Adriana Mather

Pub. Date: October 3rd, 2017

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Paranormal

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 368

Format: eGalley & Physical ARC

    

Haunting the Deep is the follow-up to How to Hang a Witch  & so I’ll leave out the Goodreads synopsis for fear of spoilers. In the same manner its predecessor was based on real life historical events, this sequel is centered around the Titanic. A YA Historical Fiction mixed with paranormal, Haunting the Deep picks up right from where we left off and the same characters are back. I truly enjoyed this follow-up a million times more for so many reasons but most of all it’s the character depth & fast moving plot that was fun and easy to follow, that make Haunting a 5 star read for me. This time around there was less of a Mean Girls vibe (not completely without) & more of  the 1966 cult classic The Craft. After the events of HTHAW, our MC Sam is a bit shaken up & avoiding any and all interaction with a group of girls in Salem that are known as The Descendants. This group is known for their family lineage, each having descended from those accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials, Sam herself (like the author) is descended from Cotton Mather who stands on the accusing side. This bad blood pits Sam against the Descendants in the first book however, in Haunting we see a meeting of the minds. Since Sam & the Descendants saw themselves in a terrible predicament in HTHAW, this time around calls for them to set their differences aside. Ghosts have always made themselves visible to Sam but this time around they’ve multiplied and need the help of the living. We follow Sam & the Descendants as they try to piece together what really is going on with the ghosts of those who passed away in The Titanic. The paranormal aspects were tuned up & Sam’s witchy abilities have further developed allowing her to leave her body and enter the spiritual world. I could NOT put this book down for long! I found that it had the perfect balance of paranormal & historical and soaked up all of the details Mather had to have heavily researched.

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If you found yourself wanting more from the characters in HTHAW, this is the follow-up you’re going to want to pick up 😉 although we still get a bit of the mean girl vibe, it quickly develops into something else that I found myself really enjoying. Sam still managed to slightly annoy me but she also grew on me by the end. The real stars of the book (beside the ghosts) were The Descendants Susannah, Mary, and Alice aka MY FAVORITE! haha! Mary unfortunately gets the ditsy role but she also has a heart of gold that makes it hard to dislike her. Susannah is the calmer more mature of the crew and is able to see things before they happen. Alice is unapologetically unfiltered & every time she put Sam in her place I chuckled. I got more of Mrs. Meriwether & her wonderfully tempting pastries and good cheer, I honestly could smell her baking through the pages haha! We also get to see Elijah aka the hot Ghost who has a thing for Sam & who Sam can’t stop thinking about. There was definitely less romance this time around & more of a focus on friendship which I feel, boosted my interest ten fold. I still couldn’t get enough of those Elijah scenes but I really enjoyed The Descendants & fast moving plot so much so that I didn’t miss the romance too badly. There are a few ghosts we meet along the way & everything from their manner of talk & dated clothing fleshed this world out so well, I just couldn’t get enough of the story.

The amount of research that had to have been done to re-create the night of the Titanic down to the music playing is pretty awesome! We get descriptive writing on the clothes worn, the ship itself, way of life for those on the Titanic, and so much more! I feel as if author Adriana Mather’s writing has grown in such a short matter of time leading me super excited for what’s to come in 2018. I absolutely plan on continuing on with this series, I care for these characters & am curious to see how much more developed their witchy abilities get in the next book. Also, Elijah and Sam…essentially both a living person and a deceased one have managed to catch feelings for one another…how is this going to work? I have questions lol! each of the characters in Jaunting the Deep had their own distinct voice & each personality jumped off the page. I found myself transfixed by this story & how well it blended the historical with the Paranormal. I love when a book makes me Google the real life facts to compare & the surprise I receive when I realize how close to the real deal the author kept it. It’s no secret that I love Fantasy but when it comes to Paranormal, witches are my achilles heel & I cannot resist a good story. Haunting the Deep is a treat to those who enjoy Historical Fiction & Paranormal. The title couldn’t be more fitting as the pages truly did leave a haunting impression every night (spooky x 1,000) & I may have possibly needed to leave my nightstand lamp on to fall asleep. Need book 3 but I’ll settle for a release date at the very least Haha! 😉

*Many thanks to Knopf Books for Young Readers, Netgalley, and Adriana Mather for the eGalley copy of Haunting the Deep in exchange for an honest review.


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Black Friday Bookoutlet Haul

Happy Sunday Bookworms! I am currently trying to squeeze in some ME time at home. I don’t usually post on Sunday’s but I missed the blogosphere on the weekends where I get to see another wave of bloggers not usually on during the week. I also promised to post my Black Friday Book Haul to a few book blogging buddies on Twitter & so here I am <3’s! Before Black Friday, it had been 1 whole year since I last purchased anything on Bookoutlet (I checked my past orders lol) & so I thought it wise to take advantage of this yearly sale. I completely had forgotten about the anxiety that comes with actually completing a purchase during this sale…

Yea…I set the alarm for this sale & had my cart full with titles I “had to have” haha! & I was almost successful. Unfortunately as is to be expected, the world of Bookworms were all trying to get in on the deals & the site experienced several gateway errors. My first order looked as if it had gone through and my Credit Card showed a charge pending however their site knocked my order off as if it never existed. So, I quickly placed another order with the exception of Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton which is book one in a duology. I had this book checked out from the library & read about 45% too little too late & had to return it lol. This book seems to not want to get read by me smh, but in true bookworm fashion I still went through with getting the sequel lol! anyways, on to the book haul…

Hardcovers

A Crown Of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) | Windwitch (The Witchlands #2) | Young Jane Young | The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)| Want (Want #1)| Shiny Broken Pieces (Tiny Pretty Things #2)

Confession…I am a bookworm addicted to books. I have 3 sequels listed here that I can’t read just yet lol, but I do own the first book in each series & plan on getting to them early 2018 so there’s me rationalizing…

Paperbacks

Random Family | Jackaby (Jackaby #1) | Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) | Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) | We Are the Ants | The Hating Game

So my paperback haul is about 90% recommendations from either Blogging buddies or Booktubers I LOVE to the moon & back haha! I’ll start with Darque Dreamer Reads who reviewed Jackaby & left me smiling & thinking I really NEED to meet this Jackaby character. The Hating Game is highly recommended by Chelsea over at ChelseaDolling Reads who I friggin LOVE! so it was a MUST BUY (she also influenced my Young Jane Young purchase lol). We are the Ants & Random Family have been on my TBR for way too long & I couldn’t believe Random Family was only $.75 cents *gasp* 


I peeped a couple of you tweeting about the Bookoutlet sale, if you posted a unboxing (or happen to have purchased my copy of Tiny Pretty Things right from under my nose lol) drop those links down below <3’s!


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December TBR

Happy FriYay Bookworms!!! I’m so excited for the weekend & no I don’t have any reason in particular other than running as far away as humanly possible from my cubicle at work. It’s been one of those weeks, some of you may have noticed me stepping into your blog posts & hitting like, I always comment but this week work really got their monies worth out of me cuz ya girl practically had to ask to use the bathroom *sobs* Lol! so here I am taking a break from the madness *shhhh don’t tell anyone* to write up my December TBR & now that I’m looking at it i’m beginning to doubt my ability to pull this off but I’m going to try my hardest.

Last month I posted my very first TBR here on Lair Of Books & of the 8 I listed, I only read 4 but this was mainly due to personal family matters. I mentioned briefly in my Wrap-up how November saw me in a position of stepping up to the plate & providing strength & support to my loved ones. We’re definitely playing it more low key this holiday season while we uplift & provide strength to one of our well loved family members. That being said, I may be spending more time on the road during the weekends traveling from New York to New Jersey which means tons of time to read. So, here goes my quite ambitious TBR…

Haunting the Deep

Congratulations to myself! I’ve already completed this read lol, it was actually on my November TBR but I couldn’t get around to it. Well I am SO glad that I picked it up in December cuz it was FANTASTIC! I have a Gush Review in the works & maybe even a aesthetic cause it’s worthy 😉


Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2)

My current read & OBSESSION! last year The Bear and the Nightingale made me a fan of Katherine Arden, this year the sequel will probably solidify my love for this author. The world building is just so vivid and rich, I legit feel transported each & every time I sit down with her books. Vasya aka Vasilisa is back & more fierce than ever! She is hands down one of my all time favorite protogs & I think this quote really captures her spirit…”Sudden anger burned out Vasya’s gathering hurt. She pushed back her chair and stood again. “I am not your dog”, she snapped. “You May tell me to go home, but I may choose not to. Do you think that is all I want, in all my life—a royal dowry, and a man to force his children into me?” 


Everless (Untitled #1)

“In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.”—The concept of trading time intrigues the ish outta me so I was over the moon excited to get this galley from Harper, hope to love it cuz that cover is EVERYTHING!


Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet

I’m finding it enjoyable to throw in anthologies into my monthly reading to balance out my Fantasy streaks. This is a collection of Contemporary short stories & I got a bit star struck when I saw the line-up of authors. Really looking forward to reading Dhonielle Clayton, Sona Charaipotra, and Nina LaCour *excited emoji*


Love, Hate, & Other Filters

I have been Dyiiiiiing to read this one! I got a physical arc from the publisher a couple of months ago but I like to read & review closer to publication date so I held off. This is a MUST read for me this month & just based off the feedback I’ve come across, I’m very excited and happy that I requested this title.

“A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.”


Unearthed (Unearthed #1)

“When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.”

Recently I’ve been enjoying Sci-Fi in YA & when I saw Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner were coming out with a book I almost did a back flip LOL! it seems like a short read & I’ve heard it’s also very light & fun which yay for that! 🙂


The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)

The self control I’ve practiced to NOT have devoured this book a few months ago is worthy of a medal smh lol. Next to Love, Hate, and Other Filters this is one I am for certain reading this month. THAT cover!!! *heart eyes* I am really trying to steer clear of reviews & thoughts & whatnot cause I’d like to go in blind and see why this book is making everyone lose their ish haha! 🙂

“Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.”


Whelp! there you have it bookworms! my December TBR will probably make me a hermit but that’s ok cause I can’t deal with snow. Yes, it’s beautiful to look at on days 1-3 but by day 4 in NYC we’re looking at a very different story & so instead I’ll escape to the land of the fae where everything is green & willowy 😉 On another note, are any of these titles on your TBR? Sound off in the comments below <3’s!


November Wrap-Up

Hello Bookworms! I come to you with my November Wrap-Up which is only a slight bit different in format than what I typically post here on Lair Of Books. I usually include my Book Haul but that tends to leave me with a lengthy post & so I decided to split them up and I think I may keep it this way. I really didn’t expect to get as many books as I did in November but that’s usually the case whenever I try to convince myself that I can go on a book buying ban smh, check out my My November Book Haul where I bake my soul for judgment…please be easy, i’m just a woman with a profound love for books, the prettier the better haha!

November was a roller coaster of events for me with close friends and family experiencing loss & sadness. I found myself really wanting to be around my loved ones, people who are known for being strong & always being there for others. It was time to give back & be the source of strength for two very important people in my life. Thanksgiving was bittersweet but I found so much to be thankful for. I’m a little late with this post but I just want to say Thank You to all my blogging buddies both new & old. I’ve enjoyed getting to know a lot of you a bit better & the wonderful conversations we’ve had, many times have changed my day for the better. I appreciate you all & can’t wait to see what 2018 brings us 🙂

*My reviews for each are linked below

Her Body and Other Parties ★★★★ 4 STARS (RTC)

Artemis ★★★ 3 STARS

The Closest I’ve Come ★★★★ 4 STARS

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance ★★★★ 4 STARS

Renegades ★★★★ 4.5 STARS

After the EPIC month of October, I knew it would be a tough act to follow lol. No 5 star reads but they definitely came close & so I am satisfied. Renegades was my best read of the month, I was just happy to have a new book by Marissa Meyer but it wasn’t w/out its flaws. My overall enjoyment overpowered the fact that there were large chunks of inactivity & it’s a HUGE book so there’s that. Still though, highly recommend to any superhero/villain lovers out there. Be warned though, that ending will leave you begging for the sequel like yesterday. My biggest disappointment was Artemis by Andy Weir & whelp, I wasn’t expecting that to be the case (review linked above). I may still give The Martian a go but I’m not so sure I’ll be continuing on with the follow-up to Artemis that is rumored to be in the works.

December is already lining up to be a pretty EPIC reading month, I’ve already finished my first read & it is a EPIC 5 stars! currently reading The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden & gahhhhh! how I’ve missed Katherine Arden’s LUSH WORLD BUILDING!!!! her books feel like a warm blanket on a cold winter night & I just don’t ever want to leave *sobs* My December TBR will be going up this Friday so stay tuned <3’s!

I was actually surprised that I managed to squeeze in 2 movie dates with the hubby & a Netflix binge but it happened and it was AMAZING!…

Thor Ragnarok

    

SO worth the 5 Butterflies!!! I can honestly say I LOVED this movie so much so that it made the 2011 flick fade to black #jussayin Thor Ragnarok had incredible action sequence scenes, EPIC call to action soundtrack, fun plot, and LOTS of screen time with Tom Hiddleston (still not enough though lol). We also get to catch up with Hulk & see where he’s been, those scenes brought some humor & levity to the flick. Similar to how how I felt about Spiderman Homecoming…this movie made me see Thor in a new light. Whereas before I didn’t really care much for the God and his hammer, now I’d like another movie please 🙂

Justice League

   

 4 stars to the movie that surprised the heck outta me! I was not expecting to enjoy JL as much as I did after not quite loving Batman VS. Superman but I did! Ben Affleck toned it down several notches & I found him to no be as annoying this time around. I actually really enjoyed his Bruce Wayne scenes especially those with The Flash who wonder & awe added some comedic relief. Didn’t think I’d love this Flash because I LOVE Grant Gustin’s version so much on the CW but surprise surprise lol. Aquaman legit made my heart skip beats & yes! yes I would like more Jason Momoa on the screen please lol. Gal Gadot friggin Killed it, she can do no wrong in my eyes at this point. Cyborg is a essential & awesome new addition to the team, he is constantly evolving as he is part machine which I thought made him all the more interesting. Overall, I really enjoyed Justice League & hope it continues in this new direction.

Punisher

    

There’s a new order to my fave Netflix Marvel series & it goes like this…Luke Cage (#1), Punisher, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Defenders. I haven’t had a Netflix binge since Luke Cage & when I sat down with the hubby for some Pizza & the pilot episode to Punisher, I wasn’t expecting to watch 8 episodes back to back but again, I did. This month was definitely filled with some unexpected goodies in my viewing so yay for that! 🙂  this show is not for the feint of heart, there is a lot of violence & revenge taking place but I just couldn’t tear my eyes away. Frank Castle is seriously bad a**!& I’m here for it! haha!


Happy reading in December Bookworms!!! Hope you all had a wonderful November & an even better start to December. What are you currently reading/watching? drop your comments down below <3’s!


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Review: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

Title: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

Author: Ruth Emmie Lang

Pub. Date: November 14th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 352

Format: eGalley/Netgalley

   

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is perhaps the most whimsical read I’ve picked up in all of 2017 & I’m so glad to have read it this holiday season. The Goodreads Synopsis for this book is pretty generous in length but if I’m being honest all I needed to read was the snippet above to know this was one I’d want to read. When introduced to Weylyn Grey, I instantly got the Jungle Book & Charlotte’s Web vibes. Here is a kid who has been orphaned at a very young age & ends up being raised by wolves. He’s not just any ordinary kid though, Weylyn has a special connection with animals and can communicate with all species of animal. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is a multiple POV story told by the many characters who cross paths with Weylyn Grey. They all share one thing in common, their lives are forever changed after meeting Weylyn & witnessing the odd and extraordinary things that occur whenever he is around. This story is special in that it not only asks its characters to suspend their disbelief but also you the reader. I wouldn’t call it Magical Realism which in my opinion has a whole different feel in writing style but it certainly is very whimsical. This is a very character driven story with a underlying message of what makes a home a home…is it a place? or the people we meet along the way?

Weylyn Grey sees himself living in many places & meeting many others from all walks of life but even he has that one person that is his hearts anchor. Mary, the girl he met when he was a young boy & who ran away from home to spend one whole month with him and the wolves. Each chapter starts off in a new place/different year where Weylyn has tried to settle down in but we also see him pop in & out of Mary’s life. This is mainly because he believes he is a danger to those he loves, strange & mysterious things like sudden tornados striking or storms tapering off. It seems he has the ability to manifest & also dispel weather phenomena. We get to see how others perceive Weylyn, some are nicer than others but all come away with a different perspective on life after witnessing things that can’t be explained.

For those readers who love character driven books, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance will prove to be a real treat. This is one boys journey to manhood as he touches the lives of many and discovers that home is what you make it. I really enjoyed getting sucked into this world and the nostalgia it stirred in me when recalling some of my favorite childhood reads. Lang’s writing is beautiful & the imagery left me smiling on many occasion. I did wish we had perhaps less characters introduced along the way & a bit more of the love story that is hidden underneath all of the extraordinary. I’m not typically the one to go for the romance but we meet a plethora of characters & their time with Weylyn is brief, I wanted a bit more of Mary since she is the most important person in Weylyn’s life. Overall, this is one story i’m sure will remain with me for a long time & as a person who has also moved around a ton, I can definitely appreciate the message. Best read on a cool night with a hot cup of cocoa, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is an atmospheric read sure to feed the imagination!

*Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, Netgalley, and Ruth Emmie Lang for the eGalley copy of Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance in exchange for an honest review.


Happy Monday Bookworms! Hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend & managed to squeeze in some good reads. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance was recently a Book Of The Month pick which made me happy to have my own physical copy, have any of you read this magical book? if so, sound off in the comments down below.


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November Book Haul

Hello Bookworms! I hope you’re all having  a FAB week, we’re already half-way to the weekend & I seriously feel like the days are flying by now that we’re at the end of the year. I have in the past separated my book hauls from my wrap-ups & over time they just merged into one final post. Whelp! my posts have only grown over time as I upped my reading & also included my viewing. So, it looks like I’ll be going back to my old blogger roots & splitting them up again. Here’s the part where I begin to make excuses for this haul…

I’ve got nothing HAHA! also, I def participated in Bookoutlets Black Friday sale cause it’s been a year since I hopped on that site & thought it only fair to treat myself lol. That haul will be in a separate post cause by the time I receive it we’ll be in December. Onward & forward <3’s…

Physical Books I Purchased

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Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1)

Her Body and Other Parties (Review to come)

Strange Weather

Renegades (Renegades #1) (My Review)

e-books I Purchased

Vinyl|Radio|Binti

Physical ARCS

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*with the exception of 1 book that’s in the mail on its way

The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne #1) (from the Publisher)

Honor Among Thieves (The Honors #1) (Twitter #Booksfortrade)

Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King #2) (The AMAZING Ashley at Socially Awkward Bookworm swapped with me, seriously she ROCKS!)

Frankie (Goodreads Giveaway Win)

The Belles (The Belles #1) (Twitter #Booksfortrade)

FURYBORN (Empirium #1) (from the Publisher)

Everything Here is Beautiful (Goodreads Giveaway Win, on its way)

Netgalley 

Reign the Earth (The Elementae #1)

Book Of The Month

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Uncommon Type | Rules of Magic

Owlcrate

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The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) (My Review)

I’ve read 3 of the books in this haul lol, but I do have some in my December TBR (to be posted) so yea. As I mentioned earlier, I participated in the Bookoutlet sale on Black Friday & well thanks to the site crashing a few times, I didn’t get as many of the books initially in my cart but umm you’ll see that haul soon enough haha!


Happy Friday’s Eve Bookworms! I LOVE a good book haul as I’m sure most of you do! if you’ve already posted yours, drop those links down below & I’ll swing on by your corner of the interwebz. Also, If you’ve read any of these let me know if they were a hit or miss for you 🙂


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Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

Title: Artemis

Author: Andy Weir

Pub. Date: November 14th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher:  Crown Publishing Group

Pages: 305

Format: eGalley/Netgalley

  

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I’d like to preface this review with how much I REALLY wanted to LOVE this book! I’d read so many glowing reviews for The Martian and having missed that spaceship, figured maybe this would be the one to get me wanting to read all things Weir…sadly, this wasn’t the case. This doesn’t mean I won’t be reading The Martian, it actually has me all the more curious to see whether this was just a case of…well let’s just get into it shall we. Artemis is based on a heist that is pulled off by our MC Jazz Bashara, a Saudi Arabian who was born and raised on the Moon city. As soon as I met Jazz, we hit it off! I love me a good sarcastic character who as they say has no hair on her tongue. Jazz is intelligent, resourceful, cunning, and at the very heart a HUSTLER! haha! she is after the $$$ & has pretty much got the business of smuggling in illegal goods on lock. There isn’t anything that enters Artemis without her knowledge. With the exception of drugs, Jazz will get you anything you need for the right price. Jazz mentions a specific dollar amount (astronomical) that she MUST earn in order to something…it’s never quite disclosed to the reader & I kept reading hoping that by the end it would be revealed only it never was. She has some high profile clients on the Moon & one of them recruits her to pull off a big heist. I won’t reveal what that actually entailed since that would be spoilery but I could’ve used more heisty action.

We follow Jazz as she makes her rounds working her legit regular day job which isn’t anything fancy or high paying, as well as her side hustle. It is inferred that Jazz is so intelligent, she could have an amazing career if she only cared to apply herself. We do see Jazz get herself out of some sticky situations using brilliant ingenuity. I really enjoyed meeting some of the supporting characters in this world & then others not so much. Although I began enjoying Jazz & getting used to her self-deprecating humor, I soon became aware of how excessively male characters were pointing out her promiscuity. Jazz rolls with the comments & never denies anything & yet she has no sexual encounters in the book whatsoever which left me a bit confused as to why she’s depicted as being Queen of casual sex. So, I think it’s safe to say that I was a bit dissapointed with the representation of women. I cannot draw comparisons with the well loved Mark Wattney in The Martian, but I also won’t ignore what I do know of that character & how eerily close Jazz resembles him.

Here’s where it gets a awkward…besides the fact that the only other two women in this book were at odds with Jazz, upon meeting one of them, Jazz assumes the woman is Latina due to having a “Latina complexion.” This left me a bit confused as to what that looks like exactly being that I’m a Latina woman with family from Puerto-Rico, Salvador, and Argentina…over the holiday weekend we took a family photo and the range of skin tones ranged from white to olive to black with blue, green, and brown eyes. In another scene, the author breaks the fourth wall to assume we the readers don’t know what a niqab is by stating “Okay, you can stop pretending you know what a niqab is. It’s a traditional Islamic headwear that covers the lower face.” which again left me with a raised brow and a icky feeling. I was prepared to give this book all the love for it’s diversity but by the end saw how left it went with its efforts and assumptions.

One of things that lured me to request Artemis on Netgalley was its setting…who doesn’t want to read a heist that takes place on the Moon?!?! Over joyed to dive right into the world building, I went in confident this book would suck me in. I LOVE world-building & it only comes second to my love for well fleshed out characters. The city of Artemis is 1 of I believe 5 dome-like cities. The book comes with a pretty cool map that gives you a better idea of what it looks like. Since Jazz is very mobile all throughout the book, we get to familiarize ourselves a tad bit better with this world & I really enjoyed seeing some of the other cities. Now, there is mention of Artemis being the property of Kenya but unfortunately that’s as far as we get in terms of info. which I was a bit bummed out over because I wanted more on that connection. On the writing front, I will admit that I struggled with info dumping. The many scenes where we get Jazz walking us through the particulars of welding & the science behind it left me wanting to get back to the main story line in a hurry. I have a love for the subject of science however, the focus on welding took some of the fun away from the fact that we were on the Moon.  The ending left me feeling as if there is potential for more story & I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still interested in Jazz’s story, which means I guess you can say I’m conflicted…

*Many thanks to Crown Publishing Group, Netgalley, Goodreads (also won a physical copy) and Andy Weir for the eGalley copy of Artemis in exchange for an honest review.


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#ARCstravaganza 15

ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Flavia over @Flavia the Bibliophile where book bloggers/bookstagrammers have a chance to show off their ARCs/eARCs/Galleys!

Hello Readers! This is my 15th week participating in #ARCstravaganza Monday & this week I’ve chosen The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton *insert excited emoji* I was approved on Netgalley however, I’ve had a few galleys lately come through corrupt & I’m not sure why. Luckily for me, I was able to find a copy on the Twitter hasthtag #Booksfortrade & it is possibly the prettiest book I own on my shelves.

The Belles initially captured my interest with it’s STUNNING cover & cemented it’s place on my top highly anticipated books of 2018 when I read the synopsis. I’m very intrigued by Orleans & it’s inhabitants being gray since when I think of Orleans (real life), it’s filled with color & rich culture. I’m very curious to learn all about why the people of Orleans are damned at birth, Camellia, and the royal family. My biggest lure towards this title is undeniably the topics weaved into it’s core such as the commodification of women’s bodies, gender equality and racial identity mentioned in the synopsis. This is one YA Fantasy I wouldn’t miss for anything in the world!

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Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.


What are some ARCS/eGalleys you’re excited to have Bookworms? I will be reading The Belles in December & I’m seriously stoked! Sound off in the comments below if The Belles has made its way onto your TBR’s 🙂


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Review: The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves

Title: The Closest I’ve Come

Author: Fred Aceves

Pub. Date: November 7th, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction

Trigger warning: Alcoholism, Physical Abuse, Racism

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 320

Format: eGalley/Edelweiss

   

Marcos Rivas wants to find love.
He’s sure as hell not getting it at home, where his mom’s racist boyfriend beats him up. Or from his boys, who aren’t exactly the “hug it out” type. Marcos yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that aren’t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hood—which seems impossible.
When Marcos is placed in a new after-school program for troubled teens with potential, he meets Zach, a theater geek whose life seems great on the surface, and Amy, a punk girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. These new friendships inspire Marcos to open up to his Maesta crew, too, and along the way, Marcos starts to think more about his future and what he has to fight for. Marcos ultimately learns that bravery isn’t about acting tough and being macho; it’s about being true to yourself.

The Closest I’ve come follows Marcos Rivas’ life course in a rough neighborhood /violent household & the motivation he finds to want to get out. For Marcos, the daily grind is made up of getting up for school & hanging out with his boys after school to avoid having to go home. Life at home isn’t easy & he is met with either his mothers silence and closed doors or her boyfriends fists. Mentally checked-out, Marcos’ mother is a alcoholic who doesn’t really have much of any relationship with him. Marcos himself would love to play the role of over protective son however, the truth is that internally, more than anything he wishes she would show any signs of caring for him. Life outside his home isn’t exactly the best either but in his community he has developed friendships that have become a safe place to turn to. Academics have never really been Marcos’ main focus & with no one in his corner rooting and or encouraging him to apply himself, he hasn’t given much thought to life after High School. He believes that Maesta is the end all be all for him and many other teens like him. We come across teachers who provide Marcos with the confidence he needs & who most of all, believe in him.

At times, The Closest I’ve Come was difficult to read because of the violence Marcos experiences at the hands of his mothers boyfriend. It seemed like all the odds are set against this kid & with nothing really inspiring him & his own home being so volatile, I wondered when he would catch a break. With little to no money whatsoever, we see our MC try to earn cash the right way by cleaning parking lots but we also see one of his friends who is a straight A student go about it illegally by delivering drugs. Having myself lived in for many years what was considered a “ghetto” neighborhood, the reality is that too many bright futures are dimmed before they even get a chance to begin. There were so many tough themes in this book paired with positive reinforcement from Marcos’ educators that I found myself rooting him on in realizing that he is valued.

We see a tremendous amount of character growth take place within our MC Marcos which is perhaps the strongest aspect of The Closest I’ve Come. Aceves wrote Marcos’ character in first Person POV which allows the reader to really get into his thought process. From the way he views his barely existent relationship with his mother to how he handles rejection, Marcos isn’t a confidant cocky teenage boy. His physical appearance is something he is always hyper aware of because he lacks funds to buy clothes or pay for grooming. Something as simple as a haircut could boost his confidence briefly & a lot of the time he didn’t get the end result he was seeking but the effort was there. I LOVED this character & how humble he is the core, he definitely had me in his corner the whole way through. We meet some of his friends from around his neighborhood, mostly through visits to the courtyard to shoot hoops. There’s a sense of loyalty from these guys that I’ve seen for myself in neighborhoods where most don’t have it to make ends meet. I enjoyed one particular scene where one of the guys sets up shop on his stoop to cut hair for a couple of dollars, very much like a brotherhood. Although we meet many of Marcos’ acquaintances, they aren’t as fleshed out as our MC but nonetheless they serve their purpose in giving the reader a picture of what Marcos has in his life. The friends he has don’t really know how bad his home life is but I was glad to see them rise to the occasion when he really needed them.

Told in first person POV, The Closest I’ve Come is raw & uncensored giving Marcos’ voice & narrative life. Own Voices Latinx author Fred Aceves was raised in a poor working class neighborhood just like the one he brings to life in this book. From the dialogue between Marcos and his friends in the streets to his stream of consciousness on life after High School, our MC is raw & uncut just like the world he lives in. Many who come from similar backgrounds will find this book to be very relatable. To those who don’t, The Closest I’ve Come is a insiders look to a reality that exists in our real world. Not only do we get POC representation but we also see socioeconomic diversity when Marco meets & befriends a HS student from a wealthy background. The challenges Marco has in his life are going to resonate with others & that is one of the biggest reasons I am happy to see this narrative hit the shelves.

*HUGE thanks to HarperTeen, Edelweiss, and Fred Aceves for the eGalley copy of The Closest I’ve Come in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a wonderful weekend & managed to squeeze in some good books. With so many diverse reads coming our way, which ones are you looking forward to? any Own Voices on your 2018 TBR?


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Review: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Title: Renegades (Renegades #1)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Pub. Date: November 7th, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Fierce Reads

Pages: 576

Format: Physical ARC

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

    

Are you a Renegade or a Anarchist? is it really as simple as choosing a side? and is it really good vs. evil? The city of Gatlon has been divided by those who admire the Renegades & those who detest them. Our MC Nova aka Nightmare is a Prodigy, someone born with superhuman abilities. Nova at a very young age was raised by her parents to trust in the Renegades to save the day however, too soon she learned this was not the case for her. When tragedy struck Nova at the age of 6, everything she believed in crumbled & the seed of resentment towards the Renegades began to grow deep within. Vowing vengeance, Nova takes to life underground with other Anarchists intent on the destruction of the Renegades. The overall consensus is that Renegades aren’t out on the streets saving lives, they are glorified super stars that the people have come to idolize through parades and intense media coverage. The Renegades themselves believe everything they do is in the best interest of society. However, not just anyone can become a Renegade, Prodigies interested in joining must go through what is known as the Renegade Trials. Based on your super human ability, Renegade teams can choose you to join their squad very much like the American tv show The Voice haha!

We follow Nova as she sets out to get back at those she believes have failed her and the city she lives in. I enjoyed seeing how Nova went about positioning herself to enact her plan however, I do believe plot pacing took a hit. Renegades is generous on the page count & although I LOVED every single one of the characters, there were some moments of no real activity. That being said, my enjoyment wasn’t too impacted & towards the end there are certain elements introduced that serve sort of as a jet-pack concluding with a strong and unsuspecting finish.

Although the story does focus mostly on Nova, we meet a slew of characters both Renegades and Anarchists alike. The finished copy actually has a small glossary in the front of the book. Nova was pretty much raised in a underground subway tunnel surrounded by a handful of other Anarchists. It’s made clear that the Anarchists ranks have taken a severe hit and not many are left. Nova spends her time with her adopted family of Anarchists Queen Bee (has a special connection to bees), Cyanide (King of poisons & natural gasses), Phobia (will draw the fear right out of you), The Detonator (BOOM!), and The Puppeteer (creepy as hell lol) who are all Prodigies with innnnneresting abilities. I REALLY liked all of the Anarchists which speaks to how well Meyer blurs the lines between who is good and who is evil.

The Renegades are more of a corporation expanding world wide with many arriving in Gatlon city to train. We meet Adrian Everheart at the start of the story while he is experimenting with his abilities (vague for fear of spoilers). Adrian is the adopted son of Captain Chromium & Dread Warden who are both leading political figures and part of the Council which governs over the Renegades in protecting Gatlon. I appreciated the LGBTQ representation with Adrian’s dads who although they are side characters, are still very important people in leading roles in fictional Gatlon city & that’s pretty damn awesome!  Adrian is team leader of his squad & we are introduced to Red Assassin (Gem & Rubies manipulator), Monarch (special connection with butterflies), and Smokescreen (smoke manipulator who is also disabled). However, Adrian is the character we spend most our time with & I ended up loving him to pieces. Although we get some moderate page time with Adrian’s squad, I do wish they were as fleshed out as the Anarchists were.

Any time I can get my hands on a Marissa Meyer story, I will! One of my all time favorite YA authors, I cannot resist her writing and the worlds she creates full of complex & morally gray characters. By the time you reach the end of Renegades, it will be hard for you to choose a side. Although the Renegades mean well, are they really helping or hurting the people of Gatlon city? & although the Anarchists claim to want independence for the people of Gatlon city, is full fledged freedom with no government really the answer? I myself haven’t chosen a side yet & love that about this story. Start to finish I enjoyed my time with these characters & found myself at times rooting for both sides lol. The plot could’ve been paced a bit better & I would like to see the other characters fleshed out a bit more, particularly on the Renegade side. Other than that, I CANNOT WAIT for the sequel!!! anyone who has already devoured this knows that with that ending, the suffering will be long & hard haha! MARISSA HAS DONE IT AGAIN!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

*Special thanks to Fierce Reads for providing ARCS of Renegades in exchange for an honest review

*Images not my own, gathered from Marissa Meyer’s Pinterest Board. She has loooooads of pics but these called out to me most 🙂

Hello bookworms! many of you are either in the middle of or finishing up Renegades…isn’t it sooo good?!?! I finished it in the tub & tweeted my reaction to the finale while trying my hardest not to drop the book smh LOL! more importantly, are you a Anarchist or a Renegade? 😉


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