Spoiler-Free Review: Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Title: Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1)

Author: Amanda Foody

Pub. Date: April 10th 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 416

Format: Physical ARC & Galley

*HUGE thanks to Harlequin Teen, Edelweiss, and Amanda Foody for the ARC copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

   

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Fast paced with many reveals along the way, Ace of Shades takes off running from the first page when we meet Enna Salta as she arrives in the city of Sin, New Reynes. She’s the perfect picture of propriety and the education to back it but all that won’t help her in a city where street smarts are the only creds of value. Enna Abacus Salta is searching for answers that will lead her to her mother Lourdes who’s been missing for the past two months. She never imagined that a name on a card left behind by Lourdes would lead her straight into the heart of gang territory. Even less, that it would be the start to uncovering many lies & truths about herself and the woman who raised her as if she were her own daughter.

Enna finds her way to Levi Glaisyer who is leader of the Irons, and at the moment quite busy trying to scrounge up $$$ for an investment scam gone wrong. Levi is not trying to take on Enna’s mission to find Lourdes even though the name does strike a chord in a way that spells trouble. Enna is determined to find out what Levi knows but isn’t prepared for the consequences that come with being associated with him and his gang.

We follow Enna & Levi through alternating POV chapters as they realize helping each other is beneficial & in both their best interest. What ensues is a race against the clock that takes us through casinos, cabarets, dark alleys, meetings with mob bosses, and one sick twisted game from which only one player in history has ever won.

“New Reynes: red lights that flashed without flame, women of loose morals dancing on street corners in sparkling, skin-tight corsets, gambling dens beckoning passersby with seedy smiles and the allure of fast fortune.”

Pictures for aesthetic are from Pinterest, not my own

Enne Abacus Salta is already proving to be one of those characters you either love or hate. Personally I found Enna to be entertaining & full of hope. For starters, everyone in this world is born with an inherited talent from each of their parents. Their last names typically tell which talent their family carries. Enne has both Arithmetic and dance talent, with dance being her blood talent making it the strongest of the two. These talents haven’t really helped Enne much in her school of dance where she is considered low rank. The Salta’s aren’t one of the more prestigious families however Lourdes has made sure Enna attends the best of the best schools. Feeling like she’s always had to prove her worth, life in New Reynes sees her fortune take a turn. I LOVE well developed characters & authors who aren’t afraid to take their faves and turn their lives upside down. Enna is completely out of her element when she arrives in the city of Sin, within minutes of arrival she’s had to ditch all of her personal belongings. Walking away with just a welcome guide to New Reynes that she treats like a bible. Some may call her annoyingly naive, I found her evolution to be realistic. Also, the fact that she didn’t break decorum even when feeling the charm of Levi was hella impressive! Cause I think even I would’ve given in #jussayin 😂😳

Levi Glaisyer so much to say about this gift of a character! Levi is our black bi-sexual MC who also happens to be the leader of the gang known as the Irons. I’ve seen rumblings of this character being compared to Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows which I find to be a unfair comparison. These two guys could not be more polar opposites, nor do I think he was intended to mimic our beloved Kaz. Levi isn’t the don who everyone fears, he is simply a guy who dreams of building an empire. He’s gained the respect of a few and as a boss that means many have sworn an oath to him. These oaths are more than spoken word & are actually binding in this world. His specific gang is known for their expertise in the casinos, gamblings and swindling. If he’s not busy casino hopping stacking chips, he’s politicking with other influential players in the game. Perhaps what I loved MOST about this character was the fact that he wasn’t made to be this hardened criminal unable to show a more vulnerable side. Levi is heavily flawed, not only can’t he say no to the possibility of winning another hand at the tables but he also can’t resist a pretty face. With a wardrobe filled with the clothes of his romantic flings…

“Levi had a long romantic history of scattered affairs-a few girls and many boys-that had become the subject of teasing from his friends. They claimed he had a hopeless habit of kissing and telling”

It’s interesting how you’re led to believe at first that Levi is made for this lifestyle…yet it’s Enne who seems to have a natural hack for it 😉

There are a few supporting characters to get invested in & some nefarious ones to keep an eye on. Interestingly enough, Enna’s mother Lourdes plays a major role in the progression of the story even though we don’t actually see her as she is M.I.A. We learn so much about Lourdes who is gender fluid with a passion for journalism & social justice.

A solid start to a new Fantasy, Ace of Shades offers up a new setting sure to entice those who with a love for mobster stories & casino settings. I’m a fan of Cabaret, Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Gangs of New York, Goodfellas, Six of Crows..I LOVE them all! which made this book a MUST read & I’m very thankful to the publisher for sending a copy my way. Foody brought New Reynes to life with vivid descriptions of the gaudy clothing worn on Sweetie Street & the different territories run by either the Irons, Scarhands, or Doves. Dropping a character like Enne into this setting with nothing but a guide of the Do’s & Don’ts of New Reynes was brilliant! experience alone is now molding Enne into a completely different person & I can’t wait to see who she is in the next book. Same goes for Levi who we see walk away a completely different man than when we first met him. There are a ton of other players in the game & some hella intriguing supporting characters like Jac & Lola that were really fleshed out. The only reason I gave it 4 stars (still HIGHLY enjoyable) was because the magic system paired up with the history of the Revolution and a Great Street War that took place in New Reynes felt overwhelming when first trying to settle into this new world. The allure in Ace of Shades is STRONG! & once I got into the story, I found it hard to put down for long. I can only see this story getting better & I’m excited to see what the future holds for Enne, Levi, and the Irons ♠️


Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a wonderful weekend & read all the good books 💜 are you planning on picking up a copy of Ace of Shades? if you’ve already read Ace of Shades, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below 💜 


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ON…

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBook

Advertisements

WWW Wednesday 4/11/18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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

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

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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


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


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ON…

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBook

I think this covers it…

Happy New Years Bookworms!!! It’s 1AM and I just finished off a slice of my birthday cake & figured I’d post the 2nd half (first half here) of my most highly anticipated books for 2018 💜 There are 3 titles for which there haven’t been cover releases but I’m SUPER stoked for & couldn’t bring myself to leave off this list. Each title will link back to Goodreads & since it’s a pretty long list, I’ll stick to some quick points of interest & hope you find some new reads to add to your TBR’s for 2018 😉

 

Furyborn (The Empirium Trilogy #3) by Claire Legrand 1 MC with 7 seven kinds of elemental magic, 7 trials to test magic, a bounty hunter, assassins, complex world-building, and a long standing war to span millennia.

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning Ursula’s POV…yea I think this sums it up for NEED! 🤗🤗🤗

These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders #1) by Sara Raasch Forbidden magic, LGBTQ romance, and Pirates!!! 🔥🔥🔥

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young VIKINGS! siblings on opposing sides of a blood feud, love a good sibling story 💙

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Graton retelling of King Lear with elements of Game of Thrones?!?! YASSS please! the synopsis alone is so bad a** for this one 🔥🔥🔥

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Various Authors Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate…I have a feeling this anthology will become an instant treasure for me 💙

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena with so many tough topics such as race, religion, identity, and class…this is one is sure to break me but I feel will be a poignant read

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandy Menon a cute rom-com told through letters written by the MC to her favorite filmmakers, I’m HERE FOR IT!

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli  LGBTQ rep, plus-sized rep, and it takes place in the same world as Upside of Unrequited (still need to read Simon) I am beyond STOKED for this one! 🤗🤗🤗

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed #Ownovoices, Indian-American Muslim teen MC, Islamophobia, Post 911

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1) Complex multi-layered YA Fantasy with EPIC world building, magic system, and fierce heroines. Already optioned for the big screen

The Belles (The Belles #1) by Dhonielle Clayton 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!

Ace Of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody Casinos, Gangs, Mafia…gahhHH! speaking to my soul with this one! 🖤🖤🖤

Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women & Witchcraft by Various Authors Besides the fact that some of my fave authors contributed to this anthology…WITCHES!!! Need I say more?!?! 🤷🏻‍♀️

Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black I’ve actually already read this & can confidently say it will make my top of 2018 at the end of the year! It’s FLAWLESS!!! Far in a dark lush world filled with political intrigue, blood thirst, and a constant need to watch your back this is one you won’t want to miss (RTC)

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff a new sci-fi by the one & only Jay Kristoff, in a Q&A Kristoff stated that he pitched this one as “Romeo and Juliet meets Bladerunner, while Fury Road plays a guitar solo in the background.” I can’t even begin to fathom what that looks like & yet I know I NEED it in my life like I need air 😂

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas a return to Garden Heights–a story about a aspiring teen rapper & what happens when they get everything they thought they wanted

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore “A magical realist Snow-White & Rose-Red meets Swan Lake, in which two sisters become rivals in a game that will turn the losing girl into a swan.”

What If It’s Us-Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera two of my fave YA Contemporary authors have come together & that is all I can ask for! the blurb gives me serendipitous vibes, can’t wait to meet Ben & Arthur 💙


Happy New Years Bookworms! Hope this year brings love, peace, and happinness to you all! also,  plenty of great reads 💙💙💙 Sound off in the comments if you’re excited for any of these titles or any I left off <3’s!


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ON…

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks

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

For more Bookish photos, click on the photo to follow LairOfBooks on Bookstagram

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

For more Bookish photos, click on the photo to follow LairOfBooks on Bookstagram

*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

For more Bookish photos, click on the photo to follow LairOfBooks on Bookstagram

Uncommon Type | Rules of Magic

Owlcrate

For more Bookish photos, click on the photo to follow LairOfBooks on Bookstagram

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 🙂


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ON…

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBook

Review: Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor

Title: Night of Cake & Puppets

Author: Laini Taylor & illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Pub. Date: September 12th, 2017

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Formats: Physical ARC

    

In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first date—as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.

Night of Cake & Puppets is the novella that follows the 2nd book in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy which happens to be one of my TOP FAVE trilogies of all time! also the reason why I’ll read anything Laini Taylor writes….EVER! I first read this novella a few years back after reading the trilogy & still remember how much I ADORED it to pieces. When I heard through the Bookish Grapevine of an illustrated edition I knew I had to read in physical format. I’m so very happy to have received this ARC from the publisher, the illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo are ON POINT! he captures the humor & quirk of this beloved character & gives the best scenes in this novella an extra dose of magic. Di Bartolo is Laini’s husband & that perhaps makes him pretty much the perfect person to illustrate this story since I’m guessing he’s had some time to get to know these characters very well. I thoroughly enjoyed his illustrations & would love to see more of this collabo 🙂

Night of Cake & Puppets is a novella set in Prague, home to Karou and her BFF Zuzana. While Karou is off on a mission (no spoilers for the DOSAB trilogy) Zuzana is on a mission of her own: to capture the heart of Mik the Violinist or at the very least his kiss! 

Zuzana was an instant fave character for me because of her eccentricities, whenever I think of her the quote “Though she be little, she is fierce!” comes to mind. Just like her grandfather, Zuzana designs puppets that are very life-like as well as a bit creepy. She is a lover of all things strange, dark, and magical which makes her a perfect BFF to Karou who is all of these & more. It also manages to catch Miks attention who is working in the same stage play as Zuzana. Before Karou went off on her adventure aka scavenger hunt, she blessed Zuzana with 5 scuppies which will grant her 5 small wishes. With her scuppies for back-up, Zuzana sets out to plan the most romantic night ever sprinkled with a touch of magic.

Mik is one of the few male characters in YA that I LOVE & as such, the next time I get asked on a tag to choose a book BF (terrible memory), my pick will ALWAYS be MIK! ❤ ❤ ❤ he’s that person, the one that wishes they had a more exciting life & is just waiting for THE night that will catapult him into said life. When he first sees Zuzana, he admire her fierceness from afar but couldn’t bring himself to talk to her. Their awkward almost encounters started to increase & he was genuinely intrigued by the mystery surrounding her.

Zuzana concocts this plan for the night she’s chosen to make her feelings known to Mik but it’s going to take some participation & effort on his behalf as well lol. I was completely knocked off my feet, left smitten on the floor (not an easy feat) with this magical night from start to finish. Taylor pulls you in for the night taking you through the streets of Prague while it snows & these two complete opposites take part in their own scavenger hunt. I honestly think Laini Taylor’s pen is infused with magic & whatever she writes is destined to come to life on the page & the readers mind. Highly recommending Night of Cake & Puppets to everyone! although it would be ideal to have read the first two books in the Daughter & Smoke and Bone trilogy, it is not a pre-requisite. You will however probably end up wanting to know more about Zuzana’s mysterious friend Karou & how she comes about those magical scuppies haha! Also…there’s Cake 😉

For more Bookish photos, follow Lair Of Books on Bookstagram

*HUGE Thanks to The NOVL/Little Brown Books & Laini Taylor for the Night of Cake and Puppets ARC in exchange for an honest review.


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ON…

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks

Review: Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

Title: Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars #1)

Author: Heather Fawcett

Pub. Date: September 5th, 2017

Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

Pages: 304

Formats: eGalley 

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

   

I typically read the Goodreads Synopsis before writing my Plot summary & I’m a bit confused this time around. The order of events & how they happened aren’t exactly correct in the synopsis & this is the first time I’ve seen this happen on GR. So, my Plot discussion will differ from what is listed in GR and for that reason I’ve decided to exclude their synopsis from my review.

We meet our MC Kamzin in the midst of the excitement surrounding the arrival of River Shara, a famed explorer for the Royal Emperor. River has been tasked with finding a Talisman of great value for the Emperor. However, his business in her small village is yet known, Kamzin’s sister Lusha is skilled & well versed in the study of the stars and maps & it is assumed River is there for her assistance. Kamzin however, isn’t one to be left behind & so she sets out to meet this man of great fame in order to join his quest. A turn of events (vague for fear of spoilers) sees Kamzin paired off with River Shara as his guide. Kamzin may not know much at all about astrology however, she knows maps better than anyone & she also has grit, a quality River admires. For Kamzin this is the opportunity of a life time to see the world outside of her small village, it’s also a chance to step outside of her older sisters shadow. However, when it’s revealed that Lusha is also on her own mission to retrieve the Talisman it becomes a race to the finish. The Talisman is rumored to be located at the very top of the tallest most deadliest mountain. Many have attempted this climb including Kamzin’s own mother, and none have made it back. We follow Kamzin, her bff Tem, River, a Shaman, and two adult siblings (brought along for their physical strength) as they take on the grueling task of climbing Raksha.

The plot is slow moving start to finish which if you really think about it, is fitting to their journey. Getting to the top is no easy feat & it also isn’t without its losses. Something to keep in mind: the entire story takes place in the middle of mountains & ice and so you can expect it to be very character driven. These traveling companions have a ton of time on their hands to get acquainted & that made for many moments of comedic relief. I can easily see this book play out on the big screen with the beautiful backdrop of the icy mountains. The author really gives you vivid imagery that had to have taken some serious research. That being said, I did feel that the descriptions of the climb itself did have an impact on the plot itself. The ending felt a little rushed but it also didn’t make me lose interest in continuing with this series. I NEED to know what happens next!!! haha!

Although there are some amazing side characters in Even the Darkest Stars, I’ve decided to highlight the main players on the chess board…

Kamzin- This MC has to be one of my newest faves for her persistence, ambition, intelligence, determination, and true grit! she will not give up once she’s set to task. She’s also very funny unintentionally, Kamzin is being trained to be the next village Shaman when we meet her but she’s terrible with magic & has no problem critiquing herself.

Lusha- I really wanted to like Kamzin’s older sister but sadly she was as cold as the mountains they were climbing lol. I did love that she is a wiz at Astrology & that her Familiars are two fierce looking Raven so there’s that.

Tem- Kamzin’s bff who had a romantic past with her but has since settled for friendship. I enjoyed this character & how well he wielded his magic. perhaps what I liked most was how he never made Kamzin feel bad for her shortcomings.

River Shara- This guy! lol smh, he’s charismatic & lives life on the edge. I really enjoyed the banter btwn. him and Kamzin, there were many LOL moments. I’m very curious to see how he develops in the next book & what path he takes 😉

The Familiars-  I mentioned Lusha’s Ravens but the real star of the show goes to kamzin’s Familiar Ragtooth. A feisty little fox who has Kamzin’s back with or without invitation lol. It’s rare for anyone to have a Familiar aka a animal protector & so that makes these siblings really important in their village.

Ultimately, Even the Darkest Stars was an enjoyable journey with amazing characters both human and animal. There were some aspects I would’ve liked to have seen expanded upon like the “villains” in this story. Although we do get some of their backstory, we don’t actually get much on-the-page time with them & our cast of characters. The final part of their journey also seemed a little rushed but it also spiked my interest up ten fold for the next installment. I am really looking forward to the follow-up & getting some of my questions answered. I had so many LOL moments which is rare in Fantasy so I’m hoping for more of that as well. Even the Darkest Stars has a very cinematic feel to it & I can’t wait to see what Fawcett has in store for us next 🙂

*HUGE Thanks to Harper/Balzer + Bray, Edelweiss, & Heather Fawcett for the eGalley of Even the Darkest Stars in exchange for an honest review

Hello Readers! has anyone read or plan on reading Even the Darkest Stars? I was OBSESSED with Ragtooth! I need more furry book companions please & thank you 🙂


 FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ON…

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks

Review: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers

Date of Publication: July 4th 2017

Genres: YA Historical/Fantasy/Mystery

Pages: 400

Format: eGalley

    

What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

I’ve always loved books that take place in small towns where generations of families have lived weaving their own stories. A lot of the times it becomes a game of separating fact from fiction. In The Disappearances we get introduced to the town of Sterling, a place shrouded in mystery and most unwelcoming to any newcomers.

Unfortunately, our main protagonist Aila & her 8 year old brother Miles have just lost their mother after taking ill & their father has just been drafted. Set against the backdrop of the 1940’s, World War II has just begun and we see a bit of the daily affects on American life. Since Miles is known to be a mischievous child, their dad ends up having to leave them in the care of Juliet’s (Aila & Miles mother) childhood best friend in another town. Aila & Miles leave behind the only home they’ve ever known to stay with people they don’t really know. The town of Sterling isn’t too happy about their arrival either for reasons the siblings have yet to uncover. From the minute they step foot in the town, all manner of strange occurrences take place & observant Aila is taking notes. They are taken in by the Cliftons, a very important & well respected family in Sterling. It isn’t long before The Cliftons explain to Aila that every 7 years, Sterlings residents (born & raised) lose something of value. At the time of their arrival, the towns people have already lost scent, reflections, and the night skies stars. The Disappearances is at its core a mystery as Aila sets out to find the answers that may or may not clear her mothers name from the list of possible Catalysts, after all…it all had to start somewhere…

Aila- is a bookworm who reads mostly classics and Poetry, she’s what is considered a good kid. When her & Miles are uprooted and taken to live with The Cliftons, she becomes very protective of her little brother Miles. While reminiscing on things their mother used to do with them to mark special occasions, she looks for ways to keep them going for Miles. I loved seeing them bicker & have a normal sibling relationship. They had moments where they didn’t speak over petty things but ultimately she made sure they made up fairly soon after.

Miles- 8 years old and missing his mother terribly is trying to hang on to her memory. He may have been known for mischief in his old town & still gets into trouble here & there but overall really wants to be happy with the Cliftons who have welcomed them with open arms.

Will, Beas, & George- 1 plays a love interest, 1 is a new friend for Aila, and the other is a friend who sort of has feelings for Aila but also has other passions renting space in his mind 😉

The Cliftons- knowing they would face much controversy for taking in Juliet’s kids, the Cliftons opened their doors & their hearts to Aila & Miles. This family is actually really special for a very important reason but that would be spoilery, instead I’ll just say that I loved this entire family. They put others needs before their own & overall just ROCK!

Towns People- I honestly came to understand these folk after spending so much time with them lol. Juliet wasn’t the only person to be accused of starting “the curse” as some call The Disappearances. Many other theories evolved over time and many prominent families were added to the list of potential catalysts. Besides the typical small town gossip & drama, these people did really band together in time of need.

It seems 2017 is the year of discovering many new authors with amazing stories to tell! The Disappearances took me by surprise in that I wasn’t expecting to be pulled into the mystery to the point I was at the edge of my seat in anticipation for the next Disappearance. This by no means is a fast paced book, rather it’s slow winding while still holding you in its grasp. I really felt for these people who were losing some of the most basic under appreciated wonders of life. I found myself Imagining what it would be like to not be able to see my reflection or smell my food…they lose way more than this. Ultimately I found the way it wrapped up to be very unique, I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like this before. Lastly, as a bookworm I’ll say that this will appeal to those who love solving a good mystery filled with literary references and a bit of magic 😉

*Thank you HMH Books for Young Readers, Edelweiss, and Emily Bain Murphy for the eGalley in exchange for an honest review

Lovely Bookworms! who has already read The Disappearances? Thoughts? did you see that ending coming? or were you pleasantly surprised as I was?


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ON…

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks

 

 

 

Gush Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Published by: Simon and Schuster

Date of Publication: July 18th 2017

Genres: YA Historical Fantasy

Pages: 512

Format: eGalley

    

Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.

In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

Some of you may have already noticed my header but for those that haven’t, this will be for all intents and purposes be a Gush Review!

The Last Magician was after my heart with its magic infused Gangs of New York/Six of Crows vibes *heart eyes emoji* 

We get introduced to our main protagonist Esta who is a Mageus with the ability to time travel. As an orphan Esta was taken in and trained by Professor Lachlan to steal magical artifacts. The purpose of each task is to prepare her for her toughest and take her back the furthest in time…going back to New York City 1902. Esta has studied many different languages, fashions, ways of life but nothing will prove as challenging as the early 1900’s. So much depends on her succeeding in stealing the Ars Arcana aka the oldest book of magic out of 1902 & getting it back to professor Lachlan. The Ars Arcana contains many of the oldest secrets of magic & is protected by The Order, an elite society created to protect the city against magic by way of the Ars Arcana and The Brink. At the very edge of the city is The Brink which serves as a barrier to contain those with magical abilities inside NYC. Those who have dared to cross it have either died or been left as empty vessels of their former selves unable to live life stripped from their magic. Esta travels back to 1902 to steal the Ars Arcana before The Magician can get away with it altering Present time for the worse.

Much of the book is spent in 1902 due to unforeseen circumstances & since this was a time where Old magic was alive & vibrant, the city is crawling with hidden Mageus. For Esta this comes as a surprise since in present time NYC where she comes from, much of the Old magic no longer exists having been weakened through the passage of time & generations. Esta finds her way into one of the gangs roaming the streets of NYC who happen to all be Mageus by using her abilities to prove her worth. I LOVED EVERYTHING about this plot line! Maxwell covered everything so well from gang rivalry, politics, and the slums of the Lower East side Manhattan to the Mageus and each of their individual abilities. I was sucked in from the very 1st page!

Esta- Our main protagonist is a Feminist Mageus with the ability to time travel & manipulate time…need I say more? HAHA! On a serious note, seeing her in 1902 NYC surrounded by men who viewed women as the inferior sex gave readers a realistic view of the times. Misogyny wasn’t a word being thrown around, it was the norm. Esta at times found herself scoffing at comments made at her more risqué choice of clothing only to remind herself that these people are a product of their time. Esta is also very loyal, smart and plays her cards close to her chest which made her an instant fave of mine.

Harte Darrigan- Not a part of anyones gang really, he’s a loner with a dark past & an even more messed up childhood. Harte is also a Mageus (won’t spoil his affinity since its spoilery) & is completely taken aback by Esta, a woman so ahead of her times that he can’t spend more than 5 minutes around her w/out turning 50 shades of red & yea I enjoyed their interactions a ton! Harte also has his own agenda that may or may not be an issue for Esta…

Dolph Saunders- The leader of the gang Esta joins & this character has that Kaz Brekker feel but he’s def way more cold hearted when need be. Dolph is a man carrying around his regrets & on a mission for vengeance by way of freeing all Mageus from the constraints of The Brink & The Order. He’s only interested interested in your loyalty & your affinity otherwise you have no seat at his table.

Nibs- The right hand young man Dolph keeps around handling the finances at the bar where he conducts all matters of business. Dolph trusts Nibs more than he does anyone else & often will look to him for their next move 😉

Viola- LOVE HER! described as Italian with dark hair & lavender colored eyes, Viola is sick with blades & her affinity is very valuable. She also happens to be the sister of another major gang boss. Dolph offered her a home & safety once her family turned against her. Viola is a lesbian & these times were no where near as accepting as Present time. I really wanted to see this character get her happy ending but understood that it wouldn’t be true to the time.

Jianyu- A man more comfortable hidden within the shadows he is VERY valuable as well. Jianyu is the equivalent of Varys The Spider on Game of Thrones only not as manipulative lol. He is observant & similarly to Viola, has a family head who is the head of a gang in Chinatown. Jianyu however, opted for the lesser of two evils with Dolph 😉

I’ve always been a fan of time pieces & seeing YA books dipping into Historical Fiction has been so much fun! this YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy was EVERYTHING I never knew I needed! Seeing my city back in the 1900’s was a real treat sans the misogyny of course lol. The inclusivity of such diverse characters did not go unnoticed, the author had bits and pieces of other languages giving the characters that fleshed out feel I LOVE! It was interesting reading a diverse Fantasy that also shed light on the inequalities that existed during the 1900’s. Maxwell calls The Last Magician a “behemoth” of a book in the Authors Afterward & that it is but I enjoyed every minute I spent in this world. I can see this heist playing out on the big screen with flashes of old NYC & present day modern NYC, I’d buy that ticket ASAP! This was my 1st Lisa Maxwell book & I’ve fallen in love with her writing! I’ve heard mention that this is a standalone & yet THAT ENDING! bookworms…dare I grasp on to hope for more? I really hope we get at least a Duology *fingers crossed*

*Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster, Netgalley, & Lisa Maxwell for the eGalley copy of The Last Magician in exchange for an honest review

Lovely Bookworms! who has already read The Last Magician? Thoughts? Who was your fave Mageus? & if you had to choose, would you live in 1902 NYC or Present Day NYC?


FOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS ON…

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks

Waiting On Wednesday

Children Of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 6th 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 448 pages

 

 Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at @Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

This is the 1st Waiting On Wednesday I’ve been over the moon excited to share in a very long time! Although I have plenty of books on my radar, only 1 takes the title of most anticipated for 2018 in my planner & that is Children of Blood and Bone! I’ve been patiently waiting for a cover reveal & it was absolutely worth the wait *heart eyes emoji* the words beautiful & stunning come to mind but really don’t do it justice. Children of Blood and Bone is slated to be the biggest YA Fantasy of 2018, steeped in African Culture with its own Mythology, the world building alone calls my name. I am eager to meet these characters, learn their magic/world, and welcome them in my heart. As most of you know, I am passionate about Diversity & to see it make its way into YA feels like a victory!

Children of Blood and Bone is already being adapted for the big screen (see here) & the author, 23 year old Tomi Adeyemi is said to have scored one of the biggest YA book publishing deals of all time. The article I’ve linked above mentions talk of Children of Blood and Bone being called “Black Lives Matter-inspired fantasy”…If this hasn’t convinced you to add this book to your TBR’s maybe the authors profile bio will…

Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. Her debut novel, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, comes out March 6th, 2018 and the movie is currently in development at Fox with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner attached. After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.

I would love to know if any of my fellow bookworms are anticipating this title or any other diverse YA Fantasy books you are looking forward to reading. Drop those comments down below <3’s! 

WWW Wednesday 7/19/2017

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

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

*Covers—>GR Link*

I’m kind of cheating here since I meant to start this today but wasn’t feeling too well & decided to leave it for tomorrow. Well I did take a peak at the first page & knew if I flipped to the next page that I’d be saying goodbye to my beauty sleep lol. The map alone had me giggling because it’s set in NYC (my home city) & some of the places have been changed. J.P. Morgan Chase in the book is “J.P. Morgan Mansion” & there’s a “Schwab Mansion” that has me raising a brow haha! I had no idea this book is 500+ pages long until I checked in with my spreadsheet & that led to some re-arranging on what I’ll be reading for the rest of the month. I have a really good feeling about this book & i’m feeling a bit excited to read on my commute to work tomorrow. By the time this goes live, I should have already started this book 😉


I finished reading Who’s That Girl by Blaire Thornburgh this morning & will
have a review up by this Friday. I definitely feel this one ended much stronger than it’s Ok beginning. I’m still undecided on a rating but it’s looking like a 3.5-3.75 if I’m being honest. I really wanted to LOVE this book but for a book that is dialogue heavy, the first half struggled a bit. The characters however are perhaps the strongest part of this book & I have a few stand-out favorites. I’d recommend Who’s That Girl to anyone looking for more books based on friendship. Although there is somewhat of a romance in this book, the friendships play center stage & I appreciated that so much.


I also recently finished reading Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica, a Mystery/Suspense novel that made a fan out of me. I also wrote a review that you can check out here. This book had me up at all hours and very concerned for the characters. I spent a good portion of my morning looking into all of her books & trying to pick my next read. open to suggestions down in the comments <3’s

 


Once I’ve read The Last Magician, I will be diving right into The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy. This book gives me dark, mysterious, and atmospheric vibes. I LOVE stories that take place in towns that have a story to tell. Sterling is probably not a town I’d like to live in but I wouldn’t mind being sucked in for a few days to unravel some secrets 😉

 


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3’s!